County not waiting for mayor on stormwater

Posted by J. Adrian Stanley on Tue, Feb 19, 2013 at 5:11 PM

El Paso County Commissioners
  • El Paso County commissioners

El Paso County is moving forward with an exploration of stormwater funding — with or without Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach's support.

Bach has continually interfered with a process to explore the region's stormwater problem and possible solutions, saying he has his own ideas for funding stormwater — namely asking citizen-owned Colorado Springs Utilities to bear the city's $687 million burden.

But experts have long said stormwater is a regional issue, since water doesn't recognize political bounds. And with the Waldo Canyon burn scar exponentially increasing flooding risks in the region, El Paso County apparently isn't waiting for Bach's blessing to pursue solutions. Today it passed a resolution and announced the formation of a steering committee to look at funding options.

El Paso County commissioners approved a resolution this morning stating an intention to work regionally on a solution to stormwater management and flood control. City Council is expected to consider the same resolution soon.

Commissioners made a few changes to the wording of the resolution, which was recommended by the Regional Stormwater Task Force. The resolution originally addressed only "stormwater" and called for an agreement between Colorado Springs and El Paso County.

Commissioners tacked on the words "community partners" in an effort to get smaller communities like Manitou Springs and Monument to consider passing the resolution as well. And they added the words "flood control" to the title, after agreeing that the term "stormwater" had negative connotations (given the city's unpopular past efforts to fund the problem). Commissioners also agreed that the words "flood control" were more informative to citizens.

Commissioner Amy Lathen said the county is also setting up a steering committee to look at funding options. The county has already compiled a list of over 100 names of people who will be asked to participate. It includes interested citizens, and representatives from organizations such as neighborhood groups, the military, school districts, and special districts.

The county plans to allow the committee to choose how it will structure itself in a kick-off meeting next week.

Comments (4)

Showing 1-4 of 4

This is basically the normal, conflict-driven 'power-politics' pitting the city against the county and vice-versa, punctuated by outside special interests. The result being high debt without voter confidence to fund critical needs - and zero production in the job creation effort resulting in declining revenues.

The commissioners have made an effort to salvage the 'Bach-Botched' initial effort and recognized the need for the sense of 'regionalism' to take priority. This is new ground for them and hopefully one that will be successful and long-lasting.

This effort, particularly setting up a 'steering committee' that might aid in gearing this effort toward achievement rather than politics, is a needed change. It could be the turning point setting a new spirit of cooperation. It would seem that keeping public contact on this issue with professional engineers, accountants and economists to provide information - and gather public opinion, free of politicians, might be a credible option.

Once the public has been fully informed through town-hall meetings, forums and informational presentations - - made by those with a true knowledge of what is involved - presenting the full range of funding options seems to be needed. Once the public has been informed and advised of the options- - and had a chance to speak of their desires, then elected officials might step in to draft the funding measure the public has stated they would prefer.

The 'competing agendas' and competing ideologies in the political arena are too well established not to try an alternate way to work with the public to ensure this important public safety work can move forward. What do you think?

Agree, or disagree, we have a simple on-line poll and would welcome your responses and comments. Thank you.

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Posted by Staci Lynne Holdt on 02/19/2013 at 7:17 PM

CSU's 2013 budget already is 52 milion dollars less than 2012. Bach demanded that CSU pay for watering the parks which is a city function, not a utility function. They are 2 separate entities, yet Bach continues to try to use CSU as his go to for extra funding and also use them as his whipping boy. Jerry Forte needs to stand up to this bully and tell Bach to find a way to fund the City's needs outside of CSU. I know people don't like it, but taxes are necessay to fund city functions. The stormwater fee was a nominal charge yet Doug Bruce, the felon, was able to convince his sheep that it was an illegal tax and it was overturned which led us to our current situation A regional approach to this problem would be a better solution because stormwater affects the city and county. Bach needs to stop using CSU as a way to honor no new taxes pledge. He said he does not think that CSU is handling their budget effectively, yet they continue to have low rates, cut 52 miilion from their budget, implement innovative ideas to cut costs and many other initiatives to operate efficiently without having to impact the rate payors. Bach needs to go.

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Posted by Kim on 02/20/2013 at 6:54 AM

This community is past due in realizing that there is no free lunch and face the reality of finding sustainable funding for the municipal budget. No one likes paying high taxes and taxes without a specific purpose - but the stormwater and flood control needs cannot continue to be ignored. We have spent the past decade looking for "efficiencies" in our municipal entities. At some point we need to decide if we want to be a thriving community or a ghost town.

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Posted by rms on 02/20/2013 at 9:43 AM

the relationship between the county and city has never been worse...petty people massaging over blown egos...and I say, hey what about us?

Posted by TejonTech on 02/20/2013 at 11:34 AM
Showing 1-4 of 4

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