City Leaders Discuss Storm Water Improvement Plans

The mayor and city council of Colorado Springs are at odds again-- this time over storm water issues.

Mayor Steve Bach announced Wednesday a plan to solve storm water concerns in the Pikes Peak region. He spoke at a meeting with City Council and other local leaders explaining his plan. It’s based on the results of a study conducted by engineering firm CH2M Hill to outline needs and priorities to improve drainage ways and other parts of the local storm water infrastructure.

It will take years and cost millions.

Bach wants to form a new regional authority from local governments to oversee the work and the cash to pay for storm water improvements. He also wants to move forward without raising taxes or fees.

According to documents provided at the Wednesday meeting, the first five years of Bach’s plan would include a repurposing of “maturing Springs Community Improvements Programs bonds, and add other General Fund cash flow to issue new bonds subject to voter approval, providing $175 million spendable. Complete $35 million per year comprising approximately $20 million per year for storm water, approximately $11.5 million per year for roads and bridges, approximately $2.5 million per year on public safety infrastructure, and approximately $1 million per year on parks. There will be no new taxes or fees for Colorado Springs for the first half decade.”

"Until and unless I’m convinced we have exhibited every effort to redeploy dollars within existing cash flow to meet these needs, I just can't support asking my fellow citizens to dig deeper into their pockets, especially in a bad economy with high unemployment," Bach said.

At a separate meeting immediately following Bach's Wednesday meeting, City Council and county commissioners said the mayor's plan doesn't fully address the needs of everyone who lives in our region. They want more discussions before figuring out how to pay for hundreds of millions in improvements.

"We are willing to listen to the constituents of our districts and the city before we make decisions and before we decide what specific plan of attack should be...before we come up with a plan to sell to the community whether they should buy it or not, we should include them in the marketing," said City Council President Keith King.

A regional report is expected in December. A final plan is expected sometime next year.