Passage of stormwater fee paves way for new spending

By  | 

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - Now that the stormwater fee has passed in Colorado Springs, money will be freed up for other city spending. On Wednesday, Mayor John Suthers sent City Council an amended budget request.

City Council will meet Thursday morning to discuss the request. If it's approved, it will go toward issues that include capital improvements, implementation of the fee itself, and the city reserve fund, plus more money for police and firefighters.

More than 55,000 people voted "yes" to pass the stormwater issue. It will allow up to $20 million each year for stormwater infrastructure and maintenance. The fee will go into effect on July 1, 2018.

Suthers says several residents agree the money that will now be available in the general fund should be used for first responders.

"With this additional revenue, here's what I'm asking the council to approve: 20 new police officers, eight firefighters, two other fire department personnel, one fire inspector," said Suthers.

The money may also be used for new police cars in the future.

"We sent a mailing to certain demographics that said, just want to make sure you understand that while all this money will go toward stormwater, it will free up money for police officers and we knew from our polling that that's something that people want," said Suthers. "They want more police officers on the streets."

If the amended budget is approved, the new hires would begin in July, the same time that the stormwater fee goes into effect.

"I've talked to the police chief and the fire chief," said Suthers. "They would time the recruitment and everything so that the academies began about July 1 and at a point in time when we would be getting that revenue to take these people onto the payroll."