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.
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.”