City Approves Storm-Water Fee

Starting early next year, expect to see another bill in the mail if you live in Colorado Springs city limits.

City Council agreed Tuesday to assess property owners a storm-water enterprise fee to pay for a back-log of drainage projects.

It won't be as bad as once predicted. Instead of about $7.50 a month, it'll be closer to $5.00 for most home-owners.

City leaders say they've tried to make the fee as painless for everyone as possible.

You see the problem when it rains: swollen creeks and flooded streets.

A storm-water system in need of a 300 million dollar fix.

Starting early next year, residents, non-profits and business owners will start footing the bill.

"We calculate it will probably add about $9000 a year in additional expenses to operating our two storage complexes within city limits," estimated Nate Winterfield.

Winterfield is in the storage business. The concrete plots and brick buildings he uses are impervious surfaces.

He'll pay more for them, because he has more of them.

"That's probably going to be passed through to the customers," said Winterfield.

"I think it's going to address issues that have needed to be addressed for probably over two decades,” said Mayor Lionel Rivera.

For the past few months, city planners devised a three tiered pay scale based on amounts of impervious surface per property, lowering rates in response to critics of earlier plans: mostly non-profit groups.

The plan to start taking the fee in 2007 passed, seven in favor with Tom Gallagher and Darryl Glenn opposed.

"It's an issue that has to be addressed, but this is not the way," said Gallagher.

Nate would have liked the chance to go to the polls over the fee, but says he understands the need to fix the storm-water system.

"I'm not 100 percent satisfied with the changes they made, but I am glad they lowered the effective rate,” he said.

And he'll start chipping in at the beginning of the year.

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