Business group back stormwater ballot measure

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Issue 1B on the Nov. 4 ballot got a boost today when the Colorado Springs Regional Business Alliance board of directors announced its support.

In an emailed message, the RBA said this:
Flooding happens all over town, like in this shot in July taken in the northwest portion of the city. - DEAN LUSE
  • Dean Luse
  • Flooding happens all over town, like in this shot in July taken in the northwest portion of the city.
Vote yes on 1B - Let's fix this!

Images of flooded cars at the Citadel, mud cleanups in Manitou, and intersections closed due to flooding have become a familiar sight in the Pikes Peak region. But that's just the tip of the iceberg. After decades of neglect, our community's stormwater and flood-control systems are crumbling. A 2012 American Society of Civil Engineers report card gave the system an overall D- for safety and condition, and we have a $706 million capital project backlog and need $14 million per year in maintenance. To put that in perspective, the City of Colorado Springs typically spends about $3 million per year on stormwater. It's time to take care of our community and invest in safe, reliable infrastructure.

Based on two years of research, analysis and public input, the Pikes Peak Stormwater Task Force - nearly 200 citizens, engineers, neighborhood leaders, business people and elected officials volunteering thousands of hours - has proposed a comprehensive management plan for voter approval:

A regional stormwater authority that will address a list of stormwater capital projects (55% of funds), emergency needs and master planning (10%) and maintenance (35%).
The capital portion will automatically end after 20 years and the fee will go down.
Work will be funded by a user fee based on impervious surface, capped to avoid economic burden.

Spending on administration will be capped at 1% to minimize overhead, and work will be contracted to local vendors to maximize economic benefit.

The average homeowner would pay $7.70 per month.

The fee is fixed and will NEVER go up. There isn't even an inflation adjustment.
The money can only be spent on stormwater projects, and voters know what they're getting because of the project list, which has been reviewed by an independent engineering company.

A regional authority means all local governments will work together to coordinate efforts and maximize return on investment.

The authority is modeled on the successful, voter-approved Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (PPRTA).

Addressing stormwater means:
A better local economy
250 new, high-quality jobs each year (University of Colorado Colorado Springs economic analysis)
Lower insurance rates
Well-maintained critical infrastructure - safer roads and bridges
More efficient use of taxpayer dollars because we can prevent problems
Less damage to public and private property
The RBA is but one of many influential groups in the region who are backing the measure, which has drawn strident opposition from anti-tax activist Douglas Bruce. Bruce has this to say about all those endorsements:
See the "diverse coalition" listed at the tax pushers' website. Apart from politicians (who want more taxes to spend on their campaign donors), nearly all supporters have a financial interest in getting some of the $49 million yearly tax. Look at all the contractors who want to be paid for the drainage work. Look at all the developers who want US to pay for the backlog THEY created. Look at the Gazette, which is in bed with the developers who advertise in that paper. Look at "RBC Dain Raucher," a bond dealer who wants this new layer of government to borrow money (bonds) against the $49 million yearly revenue, so they can get huge commissions (which fix no drainage projects).

Etc. etc. Are you getting the picture? To understand political graft, "follow the money."
The proposed fee would raise an estimated $39 million annually, not $49 million, and 55 percent of the fee would sunset in 20 years. The balance would remain in perpetuity to fund maintenance.
 

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