12 Days of COS #7: City addresses long-standing stormwater concerns, frees funds for public safety

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – City officials accomplished several important objectives in 2018 to address the city’s stormwater infrastructure needs, from the reactivation of the Stormwater Enterprise and fee in July that dedicated funding for stormwater programs, infrastructure and compliance, to the completion of dozens of stormwater projects that are reducing flooding and enhancing overall community safety. 

In 2018, the Water Resources Engineering Division constructed 47 stormwater projects, plus 35 projects are currently in design or under construction to reduce flooding and improve water quality for Colorado Springs neighborhood and downstream communities. Projects included channel stabilization, erosion control, sedimentation detention and storm drain replacement, of which many were funded through a special project item in the Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) with Pueblo County that earmarks money to leverage for grant funding to complete larger emergent projects.

On deck for 2019 is the design and/or construction of 25 major projects, in addition to constructing dozens of local projects that will directly impact neighborhoods. A list of 2019 planned major projects is attached.

“We are committed to managing our stormwater infrastructure in the most effective and cost efficient manner,” said Water Resources Engineering Division and Stormwater Enterprise Manager Richard Mulledy. “Not only is this a legal requirement, it is an investment in crucial infrastructure for our growing community that will better control flooding, protect our waterways and can provide a valuable amenity to be enjoyed well into the future.”

Dedicated stormwater fee frees funding for public safety

The dedicated stormwater funding source, approved by voters in November 2017, is helping the City to meet its commitment to fund stormwater in accordance with its (IGA) with Pueblo County and has freed up general funds to hire an additional 20 police officers, eight firefighters and two fire inspector positions in 2018. These new positions are part of a larger plan to add 100-120 police officers to the force incrementally, over the next five years. 

Work continues on 26 TABOR-funded stormwater projects

Work is underway to complete the 19th of 26 stormwater projects funded by $12 million in retained excess revenues that were approved by voters in 2016 to fund stormwater projects in Colorado Springs. These TABOR-funded projects are in addition to funds dedicated for stormwater infrastructure, maintenance and permit compliance in 2018 through the general fund and the newly established stormwater fee.

The remaining seven projects are scheduled for completion by the end of 2019, as outlined in the ballot title language. Retained funds are used solely for stormwater projects within the city limits. 


Background: 

The City of Colorado Springs, Colorado Springs Utilities and Pueblo County signed an Inter-Governmental Agreement April 28, 2016 committing spending for stormwater infrastructure, maintenance and MS4 permit compliance programs in the amount of $460 million over the next two decades to improve the City’s stormwater system.

All of the revenues from the Stormwater Enterprise fee will fund stormwater projects and programs located within the city limits.

The City is legally required to conduct a federal and state mandated stormwater program to comply with the City’s MS4 Permit.  The stormwater program involves meeting capital construction needs such as detention facilities, the maintenance and operation of the stormwater system, and costs of administration and enforcement of the MS4 Permit. 

For more information about the stormwater fee, stormwater projects frequently asked questions and map of IGA projects visit: ColoradoSprings.gov/WaterResources