New Fee Proposed For Flash Flood Repairs, Prevention

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People living across El Paso County may have to pay a monthly fee of about $9.14 to help pay for property damaged by flash flooding or the installation of new culverts.

The fee is intended to fix what many city and county leaders say is a crumbling stormwater system.

A regional task force would be created to collect the money. The money would then be distributed to public and private property hit hard by flooding.

El Paso County commissioners will vote at the end of August on whether to put the issue on the November ballot. Then, voters will have a chance to weigh in.

We're told the overall goal is to bring all the different governments in the watershed together, from Green Mountain Falls down to Fountain. With a 7 to 2 vote, Colorado Springs City Council gave the go ahead Tuesday night to join a regional stormwater authority if it is created.

"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.

A trailhead near B Street and South Academy is among the projects El Paso County Commissioner Dennis Hisey said he'd like to see the fees go towards. The trailhead washed out last year after it rained.

"It's more than just a trail, we have utilities here and a state highway, so it's about protecting that kind of infrastructure as well, it's not just a trail that we are trying to get reopened," Hisey said.

If voters pass it in November, the fee wouldn't take effect until April 2016 and the fee would continue for the next 20 years.