Mayor asking $10 million for summer flood mitigation

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Mayor Steve Bach plans to ask City Council for nearly$12 million from its reserve funds, the bulk of which will go to rebuild and restore two creeks in the wake of the Waldo Canyon fire.

Bach announced his intentions during a press conference this morning. He is also asking for additional money to also cover new motorcycles for the police force, a new up-to-date system for City Council agendas and public input and $1.4 million for city salaries.

But $8.8 million from the request of $11.85 million will go to rebuild and restore Camp Creek and Douglas Creek, both of which are seen as flood hazards this spring and summer.

The creeks originate in the Waldo burn area and the city is afraid debris and sediment from burn areas will be “unprecedented” during rainstorms this summer. The money will go to construct Camp Creek detention basin north of Gateway Road in Garden of the Gods Park. It will replace concreted channels downstream, some of which are 40 to 60 years old.

About $100,000 will go toward a comprehensive Waldo Canyon and High Park fire study. It also includes another $100,000 for emergency preparedness. Most of that money will go toward training, said City Chief of Staff Laura Neumann.

Another $1 million will go toward forest management and fuel reduction, she said.

But don’t suggest the city should have appropriated the money and started the detention ponds last summer after the fire. Instead, the city relied on a study to know exactly where the flood risk is, and is acting accordingly.

“I think we’re doing as good a job as we can,” said Mayor Steve Bach. “We had to know where the threat lies, and we’re acting without the full report.”

Neumann will outline the fund balance request to City Council Monday and they could make an emergency appropriation at Tuesday’s formal meeting.

Withdrawing the money from the city’s fund balance takes it from $46.3 million or 19.2 percent of the budget to $34.3 million or $13.6 percent of the budget, Neumann said.