Four times a year Colorado Springs property owners get a bill from the Stormwater Enterprise... a city-owned business.
It charges you for the amount of waterproof surface on your property. Then those funds are used to pay for stormwater drainage projects.
Tax crusader Douglas Bruce called the fee a rain tax... first fighting it in court where it was defeated... then writing a measure and getting enough votes to have the issue decided at the ballot box. He urged residents to fight the fee.
In an earlier interview, I asked Bruce,"So those who have paid... you're saying?" He replied, "They're suckers. They should not have paid and they should stop paying and never pay again. The number of resisters should mount. So I'm urging people to join the resistance and refuse to pay."
Now that Bruce's measure has failed he says that's it. He told me the public had its chance. He says he's not going to keep begging people to want to be free.
City leaders are breathing a sigh of relief. They say the fees bring in more than 15 million dollars a year paying for a backlog of projects like this one combatting erosion along Sand Creek.
The fees are also important to the city for getting approval from Pueblo officials to build the Southern Delivery System. It's a major water pipeline project which... in the future. would bring water from the Arkansas River to Colorado Springs.
Mayor Lionel Rivera told me, "I'm certainly grateful to the citizens for the way they voted because having to cut several million dollars more out of our budget would be extremely difficult. So we're going to do the best we can with the resources they've allowed us to keep and make them proud."
City officials say those who haven't paid should get up to speed. They've already been assessed a late fee. And when delinquent accounts are eventually turned over to the county treasurer an administrative fee of 30 percent will be added to their bills.
At some point liens could also be placed on non-payers' properties.
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