To understand the storm water issue, you almost need to read the two manuals that explain everything, but in a very complex legal jargon way. I am very good at understanding extremely dry and boring text, but even this one was a rough read.
So let me lay it out plainly. In 2007, a man named Douglas Bruce (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douglas_Bruce) became a crusader for stopping the “Rain Tax.” There is much I am skipping over here, but the bottom line is, he won and the “Rain Tax” was stopped. What I can’t quite grasp is whether or not the actual voters understood the purpose of this tax. The tax was being used to fix old and outdated stormwater runoff systems. The reason for stopping essentially came down to the name of the tax. No plan “B” was put in place after the tax was stopped.
The city has been doing what they can with money from the cities general fund, but obviously this is not enough. This issue has become so monstrous that the city is paying to repair the work and litigate their shortcomings in a court of law. The EPA and County of Pueblo have filed suit for failing to take care of this issue and not meeting their commitments.
Mayor Suthers has an idea on how to begin handling this, but it does involve the taxpayers. I’m in agreement on the first part of his idea. There is “leftover” money from the 2C initiative. This extra tax money can be used to alleviate some of the financial stress of the situation. TABOR money is supposed to be returned to the tax payers, but if voted on, the money can be used in situations like this.
Before everyone rolls their eyes and does a full head roll on their shoulders, lets look at it this way. The money has already been paid in our taxes. Instead of giving it back to you, then turning around and taxing you double (in the future), which would we all prefer? Am I simplifying this? Yes I am, on purpose. This problem won’t go away, and we need clean water. So does Pueblo because they are using this water to water the agriculture which is shipped to us for consumption. This issue must be fixed.
The next (and hopefully final) step to my resolve is to pass a fee on to the developers. After reading the background on this issue, some developers were reimbursed if they paid more fee’s than originally stated. I highly encourage you to read a little about the Drainage Basin Fee Program/ Planning studies at https://coloradosprings.gov/public-works/page/drainage-basin-fee-programplanning-studies. It is my opinion that if we adjust the fee’s correctly, the city will not need to reach out to the taxpayer.
Regarding our Colorado Springs’ water contamination of Pueblo and farther South, the WRE has recently stated, “the purpose of Water Resources Engineering is for clean waterways. Because the majority of stormwater (precipitation or snow melt) eventually makes its way into our waterways and to downstream communities, managing our water resources at the source with a comprehensive approach, including the planning and management of constructed facilities, community education, and adopt-a-waterway program, is key to maintaining clean waterways for our community and our downstream neighbors. (Retrieved from https://coloradosprings.gov/waterresources).
One thing I would like to add is that I am learning more and more about this topic every day. The answer to my resolve has not really evolved, but knowledge of the circumstances of how this mess was created, grows every day. I did my best to skip over a lot of the back issue. If you have more questions, please ask.