From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):
Colorado Springs is looking at several options to secure stormwater funding, any of which would most likely mean a vote of the people. “Technically, it’s possible to implement it as a fee, but it has to be in front of voters politically,” Colorado Springs Utilities executive Mark Pifher told the Pueblo Board of Water Works this week.
Pifher updated the board on the work of a stormwater task force created by El Paso County commissioners and the Colorado Springs City Council. The task force decided to recommend the county and cities study ways to find sustainable funding for more than 400 projects and $900 million in funding needs identified in the first phase.
Commissioners and the City Council are considering the recommendation.
The issue is of concern to Pueblo because the stormwater from the most populated areas of El Paso County funnels into Fountain Creek and could make flooding worse if not controlled. There is urgency in El Paso County because of commitments to Pueblo County for a permit to construct the Southern Delivery System and increasing damage from stormwater structures in place.
A white paper last year by Summit Economics outlined several possible funding sources, Pifher explained.
A new El Paso County entity, similar to the Denver Urban Drainage and Flood Control District, could be formed or the payment for stormwater could be managed by the Fountain Creek Watershed Flood Control and Greenway District. Another possibility would be to create a stormwater utility for Colorado Springs, which already operates gas, electric, sewer and water utilities.
Colorado Springs City Council abolished the city’s stormwater utility, created without a vote of the people, in 2009, after antitax activist Doug Bruce persuaded voters to approve city Issue 300, calling the stormwater fee a “rain tax.”
More stormwater coverage here.