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Resurrected Stormwater Enterprise on November ballot

       Colorado Springs voters will get to vote on bringing back a stormwater fee in the the Nov. 7 election.
       Approved by City Council in August at the urging of Mayor John Suthers, the resurrected Stormwater Enterprise would cost $5 a month for residential properties and $30 for all others.
       According to archived information, that residential rate would be cheaper than the average $7.50 a month for the original Stormwater Enterprise, which billed customers from 2007 to 2009.
       Its major projects on the Westside included upgrades to the South Douglas Creek concrete channel west of Centennial Boulevard and Fountain Creek between 8th and 21st streets.
       If voters agree, the new fee would start in 2018 and sunset in 20 years, Suthers told council. He said the fee is not only needed to fix longstanding needs, but will prove that Colorado Springs is taking steps to do so.
       Such proof will help the city to forestall separate legal challenges from Pueblo County and from the Environmental Protection Agency related to the city's previous stormwater shortcomings, Suthers outlined.
       The new enterprise will prioritize 71 projects, at an estimated cost of $460 million, which were formally identified in an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) with Pueblo in 2016, in which Colorado Springs agreed to do those projects within 20 years.
       To keep up that pace using just the general fund - like this year - could force cutbacks in police and fire protection, Suthers warned.
       The IGA project list includes two on the Westside - a $250,000 upgrade at the King Street detention pond (completed last year) and $4.4 million for Camp Creek drainage improvements (tentatively in 2018-2019).
       Suthers also noted that attention to stormwater issues was a campaign promise he made when he ran for mayor in 2015.
       “I think the time is right,” he told council.
       With some differences (including a cost structure that does not distinguish between pervious/impervious surfaces), the proposed program is modeled after the first Stormwater Enterprise.
       Approved by City Council without going to the public, that version was voted out in a November 2009 initiative led by tax crusader Douglas Bruce, who disparaged it as a “rain tax.”

Westside Pioneer article