Voter-approved Stormwater Fee for Colorado Springs residents begins July 1

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – City officials came together today to remind Colorado Springs residents of the voter-approved stormwater fee, 2A, which goes into effect July 1. The fee will fund critical stormwater infrastructure and maintenance operations and will provide sustainable funding for capital construction, maintenance and operations of the city’s stormwater system, and administration and enforcement of its federally-required MS4 Permit. 

All residential units with water services through Colorado Springs Utilities will be assessed a $5 per unit monthly fee that will be collected through residents’ utilities bill. The City has partnered with Colorado Springs Utilities to administer the monthly residential fee on its behalf as it is the most cost effective billing mechanism. Residential units within the city limits without an active water services agreement with Colorado Springs Utilities will be billed through a separate billing agency. 

The monthly fee for non-residential parcels will be $30 per acre.  Non-residential parcels over five acres will be individually assessed and undeveloped or unimproved land will not be counted as they do not significantly contribute to stormwater runoff. 

“Thanks to the support of our voters, the City of Colorado Springs will be able to sustainably operate a first-rate stormwater system and remain in compliance with its legal and contractual obligations,” said Mayor John Suthers. “The voters recognized this urgent need and placed their confidence in the City to efficiently and cost-effectively manage this funding stream and the stormwater program in general.”

With the dedicated funding mechanism freeing general fund dollars, the City plans to hire an additional 20 police officers, eight firefighters and two fire inspectors in 2018. These positions are part of a larger plan to add 120 police officers to the force incrementally, over the next five years.

For more information about the stormwater fee and the City’s stormwater program, visit ColoradoSprings.gov/stormwater or call (719) 385-7876. For Colorado Springs Utilities account and billing questions, contact (719) 448-4800.

Background

Ballot Issue 2A passed by 54 percent in the November 7, 2017 special combined election, approving a dedicated municipal government stormwater fee that will generate $16- $17 million in annual funding for critical stormwater infrastructure, regulatory permit compliance and maintenance operations for the City's stormwater program to meet the requirements outlined in the Inter-Governmental Agreement with Pueblo County through 2036.

Per the ordinance re-implementing the Stormwater Enterprise, all fees will be used only for the stormwater program: Stormwater capital construction, operation and maintenance, MS4 permit compliance, and compliance with intergovernmental agreements entered into before June 1, 2016. No stormwater funds will be spent for projects outside of city limits and all projects directly benefit Colorado Springs residents and ultimately downstream communities.

For more, visit www.coloradosprings.gov/stormwater.

Sand Creek Channel Stabilization Project

The channel stabilization project at Sand Creek over Platte Avenue, which is scheduled for completion later this fall, will stabilize the drainage channel, control storm flows, and reduce sediment transport down Sand Creek and ultimately into Fountain Creek while improving overall water quality. Past efforts to stabilize the channel were unsuccessful and continued erosion caused the channel bottom to drop 30 feet threatening the safety of the upstream Platte Ave Bridge prompting emergency funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. It is also one of eight projects funded in 2017 through the City’s Inter-Governmental Agreement with Pueblo County that identifies, prioritizes and funds 71 stormwater projects designed to enhance public safety, provide improved water detention, improve water quality, and reduce flows and the amount of sediment that flows downstream.

Project timeline:

Construction Phase: Winter 2017- Fall 2018

Total stormwater project cost: $5-$6 million