From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):
A feud between two water districts over how Fountain Creek grant money is being spent deepened this week. The Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District Monday mailed letters to state and federal agencies claiming that the Fountain Creek Watershed Flood Control and Greenway District “illegally spent or committed” funds that were used as matching funds for grants.
Fountain Creek District Director Larry Small denied there is any wrongdoing.
“We have a record of all decisions and those making these charges were a part of the decision,” Small said. “Maybe they need their memories refreshed.”
Lower Ark board members said the money from their district and Colorado Springs Utilities, more than $450,000, is supposed to be used in the Fountain Creek corridor — defined in statute as the area in the flood plain south of Fountain and north of Pueblo.
Additionally, any money applied under Pueblo County’s 1041 permit toward Colorado Springs’ $50 million obligation for flood control must benefit Pueblo.
But grants for fire mitigation studies on Upper Fountain Creek and for trails in the Colorado Springs area have been pressed by the Fountain Creek district without proper consultation, the Lower Ark board said.
“It continues to anger me that these people in El Paso County continue to believe that the state line ends at southern El Paso County,” said Anthony Nunez, a former Pueblo County commissioner who represents Pueblo County on the Lower Ark board.
On Wednesday, he and other board members were fuming that Small had canceled a meeting in Rocky Ford to discuss the issues.
Small had notified the Lower Ark and other participants in the district by email that the July 25 meeting would be in Fountain, rather than Rocky Ford as planned at last month’s meeting.
The state statute does not allow meetings outside Fountain Creek district boundaries, which includes Pueblo and El Paso counties, Small explained.
That infuriated Nunez, who complained that the Upper Fountain grant includes Woodland Park, which is in Teller County.
Contacted after the meeting, Small said Woodland Park is paying its own way in that grant, and agreed with the Lower Ark board that no Fountain Creek district money can be spent outside its boundaries.
More Fountain Creek coverage here.