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Reader: This is not the right stormwater measure

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COURTESY CITY OF COLORADO SPRINGS
  • Courtesy City of Colorado Springs

Thanks to Pam Zubeck for the article "Awash in cash: Stormwater 'vote yes' group ready to campaign." Let me start by saying that we do indeed need to fix our stormwater problems and prevent any further contamination from occurring, and I am more than willing to pay. But this is not the right ballot measure.

The article includes the revealing statement, "But now the city faces a lawsuit alleging violations of the Clean Water Act filed by the Environmental Protection Agency and state water quality regulators, stemming from the city's neglect of its stormwater system and waivers the city gave to developers to sidestep building drainage facilities [emphasis added]."

So city mismanagement and developer "free passes" are the essential causes of the problems. Yet, there is no mention of how the city is holding developers responsible, now or in the future, for adequate construction of drainage facilities.

That is a critical problem with this ballot initiative. Before the city comes to us with its hand out, the plans with costs to correct the situation and the requirements of developers must be explained to the public.

Assuming the neglect and developer issues are both resolved, the ballot measure in its present form lacks equity. As I understand it, an 800-square-foot home, for example, pays the same as a 10,000-square-foot home. There is no consideration of the amount of impervious surface on the land.

Although not explicit, I assume that each apartment in a complex pays the $5 because the ballot language is "per dwelling unit."

By the way, who donated the $500,000 to pass this ill-conceived measure? Was it developers? Time for the Council and mayor to craft an equitable measure based on impervious surface and one where developers are held accountable by law so there cannot be any more "good deals" at taxpayer expense.

— Mary J. Talbott, Colorado Springs

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