Fountain Creek: Mayor Bach outlines new proposal, no new taxes, no new fees, not enough dough

Flooding in Colorado Springs June 6, 2012
Flooding in Colorado Springs June 6, 2012

From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach Monday presented his proposal to City Council to address the backlog of high-priority, unfunded capital improvement projects including stormwater control.

Voters in El Paso County turned down a regional drainage district fee that would have raised $37 million annually to address a $700 million backlog in projects.

The issue of stormwater control on Fountain Creek has become central to a pending lawsuit by the Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District in federal court over Colorado Springs’ violations of the Clean Water Act.

Pueblo County commissioners are looking into whether Colorado Springs is in violation of its 1041 permit for the Southern Delivery System.

Bach wants to place a proposal on the April municipal ballot that would extend tax revenue bonds funded by sales and use taxes over the next five years. Voters would be asked to approve up to $160 million in Sales and Use Tax Revenue bonds to succeed the maturing Springs Community Improvement Program bonds. Bond proceeds will provide funding of $145 million to complete more than 70 capital improvement projects, which includes $75 million in neighborhood streets, $40 million for stormwater, $20 million for public safety and $10 million in parks. The balance of the proceeds would provide for the required bond reserve fund and the costs of issuance, according to a press release from Bach.

“This is a holistic approach to address all capital improvement needs in our community without raising taxes or imposing a new fee,” Bach said. “Specific projects are planned in each of the five years based on professional staff recommendations as well as input by the community and City Council.”

The $40 million over five years would address only about one-fourth of the $162 million in high-priority stormwater projects identified in a Colorado Springs study earlier this year. The city’s total backlog is $534 million.

At $8 million per year, the amount dedicated to stormwater would be just half of the estimated $17 million generated by a stormwater enterprise fee abolished by City Council in 2009.

More stormwater coverage here.

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