County Commissioners Support Stormwater Plan

Water rises in the drainage system below Chestnut in Colorado Springs during heavy rain on July 18, 2014.

Voters in El Paso County will likely have a chance to decide whether or not they want to fork out the money to improve stormwater drainage.

The El Paso County Commissioners voted in favor of supporting an "Intergovernmental agreement" (IGA) that would charge homeowners $7.70 a month.

The agreement is between Colorado Springs, Fountain, Green Mountain Falls, Manitou Springs and El Paso County. The plan would combine county resources with resources from those communities.

Now the commissioners have to decide what language would be used on the ballot measure. After giving their vote of approval for the IGA Tuesday, commissioners held the first of two readings of the ballot question. At the second reading, commissioners will take a vote that will officially put the IGA proposal on the ballot. At that point, they also anticipate a complete list of every project that would be funded by the fees collected under the stormwater plan.

Commissioners say stormwater issues affect everyone in the county.

"Every rooftop and every driveway contributes to the runoff problems, so this is something we need to solve together and not just on the backs of a few people that are impacted by no fault of their own," Commissioner Dennis Hisey said.

The Pikes Peak Regional Stormwater Task Force, who created the agreement, says the modest fee proposed is the best way to fund maintenance and emergency projects within the county.

"I believe this is a reasonably fair way to do it. It's better than a tax. If it were a tax then only private property owners would be paying this. So we increase the number of payers on this by making it a fee," Dave Munger of the Citizen Stormwater Task Force said.

Voters will have the final say when the measure appears on the ballot in November. If voters pass it, the fee is expected to generate more than $39 million in the first year.