Fountain Creek: Colorado Springs is looking at two competing stormwater proposals

Fountain Creek swollen by stormwater November 2011 via The Pueblo Chieftain
Fountain Creek swollen by stormwater November 2011 via The Pueblo Chieftain

From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

The Colorado Springs City Council is looking at competing proposals to deal with stormwater control. The action is important to Pueblo because of agreements related to Pueblo County’s 1041 permit for Southern Delivery System and the need to reduce flooding on Fountain Creek. Pueblo County officials have asked Colorado Springs to show how stormwater control will be funded since council abolished the city’s stormwater enterprise in 2009.

A study in February by CH2MHill found 282 projects totaling $687 million in Colorado Springs, and 268 projects totaling $102 million in areas out­ side of Colorado Springs in the Fountain Creek watershed. Of the total, 54 projects totalling $192 million are considered critical for public health and safety.

Council Monday heard proposals to form the Pikes Peak Regional Drainage Authority by a stormwater task force that has been meeting for two years and a counterproposal by Mayor Steve Bach and city staff that would roll stormwater funding into other capital projects.

The proposal for the regional authority would create an intergovernmental agreement among El Paso County, Colorado Springs, Manitou Springs, Fountain, Green Mountain Falls, Monument and Palmer Lake. The task force intends to introduce a ballot initiative forming the authority for the November general election ballot. Stormwater charges of $9 per month for homeowners could raise about $50 million annually for stormwater projects throughout the Fountain Creek watershed.

Bach’s proposal is to include Colorado Springs stormwater needs alongside other capital needs for technology, parks, public safety and public works. A report presented to council Monday by chief of staff Steve Cox concluded: “Stormwater is only part of the broader capital problem.”

It proposes funding $25.5 million annually for five years to catch up with stormwater needs through either refinancing bonds or imposing a sales tax of either three-quarters or one-cent sales tax.

More Fountain Creek coverage here.

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