County OKs stormwater resolution, Mayor wants to postpone

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The El Paso County Board of Commissioners passed a stormwater resolution resolving to find funding sources and identify major construction projects to address the more than $900 million in infrastructure updates and repairs in the region.

StormBut Mayor Steve Bach is asking the city council to postpone consideration of the issue until a new council is elected.

The county resolution establishes an official stormwater steering committee to assist in finalizing the needs of capital projects and to recommend ideas for funding.

A regional task force found a total need of $906 million in projects, including $686 million within in the city, $108 million in unincorporated parts of the city, $31 million in Colorado Springs Utilities projects and $46 million in other jurisdictions, like Monument, the Air Force Academy, Fountain and Manitou Springs.

El Paso County and the City of Colorado Springs are the initial parties to the joint resolution, according to a press release from the county, but other entities including cities and towns and water districts will also be encouraged to sign on as Community Partners in the Resolution and participate in the Steering Committee efforts to “examine all potential stormwater program funding options including the identification of efficiencies in current programs and reallocation of existing resources.”

But both the resolution and the steering committee could be without support from Colorado Springs, which holds 76 percent of the projects identified by a regional task force.

“There will be a new City Council soon, and they have the right to weigh in on this issue,” said Mayor Steve Bach in an e-mail. “I am asking that the current Council table this item and refer it to the new council for discussion.”

The task force assigned to identify the scope of the drainage issues in the region suggested raising taxes as a way to meet address the overwhelming needs of the region. City Council hasn’t yet had a discussion about raising taxes or instituting another stormwater fee.

“The City Council and I have not had a discussion about the best approach to stormwater improvement needs,” the mayor said. “Once the new council is in place, I will initiate the dialogue on this issue.”

The City Council will consider the joint resolution at its formal meeting, Feb. 26. The resolution indicates that the task force should submit a written report of its findings by July 1.

This is an important next step. Flood control and stormwater management are big challenges,” County Engineer Andre Brackin said. “The initial work of the Stormwater Task Force has given us a good listing of what is needed. The Steering Committee will assist in prioritizing projects; examine all of the available funding options make recommendations to help solve the critical flood control and stormwater management issues facing the entire region.”


4 Responses to County OKs stormwater resolution, Mayor wants to postpone

  1. The fractured and divided nature of local government has long been an impediment to economic development in the area and now starting out as a hindrance to needed public safety infrastructure improvements. This is an outstanding opportunity for the city and county to work well together. As we have seen, this is a distant dream. The need to have a central coordinating committee to supervise this project seems critical. Public safety. Not Politics. The work done by the original stormwater task force has been thorough and professional and Mr. Brackin is to be applauded along with Ms. Migchelbrink from the city for their excellent work. Would it be in the public interest to maintain this high level of professionalism for future contact with the public? Let the engineers be the ones to provide factual information to the public – then when the public has reviewed the needs, and the funding options — let the elected officials draft funding proposals in line with what has been “pre-approved” by the public? That’s our thought. What’s yours? We have a brief four minute poll running to gauge what people are thinking as to how best to remove the ‘bickering and political positioning’ from this essential project.

    Thank you. People working together in unity can make a difference !

    Donna Knight
    February 21, 2013 at 7:17 am

  2. Like I’ve said before as a whole we voted this down many times. Our city gov. just push and push to get what they want and not what the public wants! Why waste our money with outside studies, when I think some one within the city would be qualified. Also learn to budget like the rest of us,because the money use to be there so where has it gone.As for more taxes bull,make the builders and companies pay there share and not waive fees or give breaks for growth!

    February 21, 2013 at 11:46 am

  3. When I first ran for city council in 1997, one of the survey questions was “How would you address the sotrm water backlog?” Now running for re-election, I am getting the same question!!

    This does need to be a regional solution and a possible vehicle could be based on the successful and voter approved PPRTA.

    The Stormwater Task Force has done excellent ground work. Just hope it doesn’t “end up on the shelf” like other studies tend to be.

    Bernie Herpin
    February 21, 2013 at 12:02 pm

  4. Mr. Herpin,

    Tasks Forces, committees and review boards so indeed seem to be a cottage industry, locally. I am sure lumber yards appreciate the revenue off sales of shelving to store the reports.

    The current storm-water task force has done a workmanlike job in presenting factual and believable data. This is a black and white issue with the public good being at the center. The gray area of politically driven control issues, and the lack of details behind efforts to extract funds from a transfer of Utilities may be a turn off for voters.

    Keeping information dissemination and public contact in the hands of the engineers and funding experts – – in the initial stages – – may be beneficial until the public has had a chance to weigh in on their desires for funding. Turning a straightforward process into a political catfight may well distance those voters whose support might be crucial in supporting the cost to resolve water flow problems.

    Donna Knight
    February 21, 2013 at 1:48 pm