Nine new reservoirs will help Denver Water meet downstream demands while keeping more water in the mountains.
From The Loveland Reporter-Herald (Pamela Johnson):
[Tom] Donnelly and Lew Gaiter met with representatives of Northern Water during their administrative matters meeting Tuesday to consider input previously given to the commissioners from the Larimer County Environmental and Science Advisory Board.
The volunteer citizen members of the committee expressed several concerns with the plan, including the plans for flushing the river, the flow levels and what advisory members considered to be “fuzzy at best” plans for paying for promised mitigations and enhancements.
From Northern Water, general manager Eric Wilkerson and project manager Jerry Gibbens explained to the commissioners Tuesday that those issues had been addressed. They showed figures explaining how the mitigation plan improves the frequency of flushing the river and how it will ensure water in the river through all seasons as opposed to now when there are times that certain sections in Fort Collins are dried up.
“We will deliver day in and day out, every single day of the year, 18 (cubic feet per second) in the winter and 25 cfs in the summer down river,” said Gibbens…
As far as the funding, Northern Water is committing to $53 million in mitigation and improvements. They agreed to pay $13.8 million outright, Gibbens said. While Northern Water will look for partners and other funding sources for the rest ($39.2 million), they will make sure that every aspect of the plan is completed, according to Gibbens…
After hearing from Northern Water, the commissioners decided not to forward any comments to the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission, which will vote on the plan next week. They said they appreciate the concerns brought forward by their advisory commission and are satisfied that Northern Water has addressed them to the county’s satisfaction.
Commissioner Lew Gaiter said he was pleased that the information presented by both the environmental board and Northern Water served as education for the community…
From The Colorado Springs Independent (Pam Zubeck):
The Nov. 6 election will be the fourth time voters have been asked to provide longterm funding for stormwater, the other failed attempts coming twice in 2001 and the regional effort in 2014 that went down 47 percent to 53 percent. (Voters in April did allow the city to keep up to $12 million in one-time excess revenue from 2016 and 2017 for stormwater.)
But now, the city faces a lawsuit alleging violations of the Clean Water Act filed by the Environmental Protection Agency and state water quality regulators, stemming from the city’s neglect of its stormwater system and waivers the city gave to developers to sidestep building drainage facilities. Suthers says passage of a stormwater fee, which would raise $17 million a year from residents and property owners, would help the city avoid costly fines from the lawsuit, though some city councilors disagree.
Most of the money to be raised by Invest in COS, the “vote yes” committee, will come from business people and construction contractors, says Rachel Beck, government affairs manager with the Colorado Springs Chamber and EDC. “They understand the link between reliable infrastructure and their ability to do business and economic health,” she says. The monthly stormwater fee for commercial property owners would be $30 an acre.
Having hired consultant Clear Creek Strategies of Denver, the committee will use mailers, TV and radio, but so far doesn’t have a slogan for the measure, dubbed 2A on the ballot, Beck says.
Suthers interprets a pre-campaign poll that showed the issue passing comfortably as the community seeing stormwater as a priority, he says. “It also indicates the public has confidence in the city’s leadership and hopefully that will result in greater support.”
Laura Carno, a conservative political operative who lives in Monument and opposed the city’s 2C roads tax measure in 2015, might sit this one out, she says, adding she knows of no organized effort to defeat the fee.
[Douglas Bruce], though, is putting together a “true grassroots organization,” though he himself cannot vote, because he remains on probation for a felony tax-evasion conviction that is under appeal.
Bruce also plans to write a statement against the measure, though the city is not required to mail Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights notices to voters, since those are required only for tax hikes, not fee questions.
Bruce says he’ll target the flat rate in his campaign, noting, “The idea that Suthers’s campaign donors who live in mansions in the Broadmoor [area] don’t have to pay any more than grandma in her trailer, that’s an abomination.”
Notably, the city’s now-defunct stormwater fee charged fees based on impervious surface, meaning those that contributed most to the runoff problem, such as owners of large homes and businesses and parking lots, paid more. The city’s Stormwater Enterprise was shut down in 2011, after fees were suspended in late 2009 as a result of a ballot measure Bruce wrote that called for ending “the rain tax.”