Stormwater improvements are needed, especially given the post-fire flood potential.
Setting up a political showdown, Mayor Steve Bach
today presented his own plan for stormwater
in a well-attended meeting.
The mayor's plan runs counter to a regional solution that has been months in the works through a citizen-led Regional Stormwater Task Force
. Both the El Paso County commissioners
and the City Councilors
have endorsed that plan, which recommends charging a region-wide fee or tax and setting up a governing body to spend money on stormwater capital improvement projects.
The Task Force has been unable to entice the mayor to cooperate with the planning process, which is now moving into a public-comments phase.
The mayor's plan, which would create a regional stormwater group, but no regional money, was generally not well received today by Councilors, commissioners, and task force members. (Look for more on that in days to come.) Bach says he plans to press forward and vet his plan in the coming weeks.
Here is an outline of what the mayor is proposing, courtesy of the city:
Mayor Bach proposes hybrid Storm Water solution
Today, at the City Administration Building, Mayor Steve Bach convened a meeting to discuss the findings on the scope of the region’s storm water needs from independent engineering firm CH2M Hill.
CH2M Hill was contracted by the City to give a third-party assessment on the scope and depth of the storm water needs figures presented earlier this year by the Regional Storm Water Task Force. Additionally, Mayor Bach proposed the following alternative storm water solution:
Storm Water Hybrid (New Regional Authority, Individual Participant Funding Sources, No Overhead)
New Regional Authority to be formed within El Paso County boundaries by the City of Colorado Springs, El Paso County, and other interested municipalities. Additional municipalities may join in the future.
Each participant will bring its own funding source and receive commensurate spending. Any participant may elect in its discretion to provide a financial or “in kind” grant to any other participant.
The Authority will be led by an unpaid Board of Directors comprised of representatives of the participants. Voting will be proportional based on the impervious service/population.
The Authority will have no staff. The Colorado Springs Executive Branch will administer the Authority based on an Intergovernmental Agreement and as an “in kind” contribution, affording other participants the ability to maximize their spending on capital improvements and avoid overhead.
Projects design, construction, and maintenance will be outsources to the private sector with local vendors receiving preference wherever practical to help create local private sector jobs.
The Authority will formally report quarterly top the public on its progress toward reaching measureable outcomes.
Colorado Springs Capital Improvement Projects and Operations and Maintenance Funding (No New Taxes or Fees for Colorado Springs residents for at least the first half decade)
First Half Decade
Capital Improvement Projects: Repurpose maturing Springs Community Improvements Programs bonds, and add other General Fund cash flow, to issue new bonds subject to voter approval, providing 175 million dollars spendable. Complete 35 million dollars per year comprising approximately 20 million dollars per year for storm water, approximately 11.5 million dollars per year for roads and bridges, approximately 2.5 million dollars per year on public safety infrastructure, and approximately 1 million dollars per year on parks. There will be no new taxes or fees for Colorado Springs residents in the first half decade.
Operations and Maintenance: Dedicated General Fund line items will be provided annually for storm water (approximately 5 million dollars per year) and roads and bridges (approximately 16 million dollars per year). These initial numbers will grow as the City achieves additional efficiencies and sales tax gains.
After the First Half Decade
Capital Improvement Projects: Scaling up the economy, including the City for Champions Regional Tourism Act proposal, will help generate incremental sales tax to fund additional Capital Improvement Projects. If organic General Fund growth is not sufficient trending into the third and fourth years of this plan, then voters may be asked to approve additional funding via a Metropolitan Area Projects model used in Oklahoma City. This potential sales or property tax increase would include a Sunset Provision.
Operations and Maintenance: The City will continue to dedicate General Fund line items for storm water, roads, and bridges.