From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):
Colorado Springs may be spending nearly $46 million on stormwater projects this year, but Pueblo County commissioners are trying to determine if the money is being spent in the right places. “It’s fine that they’re spending the money, but it really doesn’t answer our question about whether the list of pre-2009 projects is being addressed,” said Commissioner Sal Pace.
Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach and Council President Keith King Thursday responded to questions raised earlier in the week by commissioners about whether stormwater spending is fulfilling the 1041 permit conditions for Southern Delivery System designed to mitigate flooding on Fountain Creek caused by increased growth from SDS. “Considering these tough economic times and the daunting task of ongoing fire recovery efforts, we are pleased that staff was able to find a way to more than triple the initial projections of funding for stormwater improvements in 2013,” Bach and King wrote in a letter to commissioners and Pueblo City Council.
On Monday, Pueblo County commissioners expressed concern about the progress of a stormwater task force in El Paso County. The task force was formed last year and determined there are more than $900 million in stormwater needs that should be addressed on a regional basis.
Bach, however, is seeking an independent accounting of the $686 million in projects that represent Colorado Springs’ share of the burden. He has advocated for Colorado Springs taking care of its own obligations.
Pueblo County commissioners want to know which of the projects on the list are among the $500 million in identified needs in 2009, when Colorado Springs indicated a stormwater enterprise was in place as part of conditions for the SDS permit. Colorado Springs City Council abolished the stormwater enterprise on a split vote following a 2009 election. Last year, city attorney Chris Melcher offered an opinion that Colorado Springs should be spending at least $13 million annually on stormwater to fulfill its SDS obligations.
“It seems like there is a lot of additional money being spent to address new flooding threats because of the Waldo Canyon Fire,” Pace said Thursday. “Colorado Springs has to meet that need, but that doesn’t replace what they should already be addressing.”
More coverage from the Chieftain:
Colorado Springs this week provided an accounting of $45.7 million in planned expenditures this year to address stormwater concerns.
$14.2 million for new grade structures, stabilization projects, operation, maintenance and salaries. $681,000 for Waldo Canyon Fire mitigation projects. $12.8 million for Colorado Springs Utilities projects, including stabilization of lines crossing creeks, and repair of damage from washouts related to the Waldo Canyon Fire. $8.8 million for Camp and Douglas Creek restoration. $1.4 million for Colorado Springs Airport drainage projects. $350,000 for Pikes Peak Highway drainage. $7.5 million for remedial work on the Waldo Canyon Fire emergency watershed projects.