The city Parks Department has asked City Council to approve increasing its budget by $450,000 to enable parks to be irrigated the rest of this year. The 2016 budget included nearly $2.9 million for watering parks and filling Prospect and Quail Lakes. Council said when approving the budget last year that staff could seek a supplemental appropriation if needed.
Colorado Springs Utilities has been asked to provide the extra $450,000. Utilities funded $1.6 million in new equipment several years ago to make the parks more water efficient, parks official Kurt Schroeder told City Council on Monday. During that time, the city was given a temporary conservation rate that lowered the Parks Department's bill, but that program has ended.
Bill Cherrier, Utilities' chief financial officer, said Utilities could use budget billing, meaning under-spending one year could be applied in future years.
But the water department is running a deficit because of declining water sales this year, Cherrier said. That prompted Utilities Board Chair Andy Pico, also a Council member, to ask, "Where do you propose to get the $450,000, because it doesn't exist [in the Utilities budget]."