Jul 30, 2014 12:38 AM by Kelsey Kennedy

Stormwater Task Force Close to Putting Drainage Authority Question on Ballot

Stormwater is causing divide in community governments across the pikes peak region. However, many of them are working hard to come together to form the Pikes Peak Regional Drainage Authority.

The Pikes Peak Stormwater Task Force is very close to reaching an intergovernmental agreement that will, if passed by the voters, create the Pikes Peak Regional Drainage Authority to deal with long-term stormwater problems that have been not been addressed.

"Stormwater is incredibly important," says El Paso County Commissioner Amy Lathen. "Whatever we take out there for the people to consider, we had better have our ducks in a row, and have done our homework. That's the whole point of this task force."

Community leaders from Colorado Springs, El Paso County, Fountain, Green Mountain Falls and Manitou Springs are all working together to form the Pikes Peak Regional Drainage Authority.

"The dialogue is good, the debate is good," says Mayor Steve Bach's Chief of Staff, Steve Cox. "We want to
end up with the best product for the community."

The first major topic of discussion was the composition of the board of directors for the PPRDA. Members of the task force concluded that it will have eleven directors, five representing Colorado Springs, plus the mayor, two representatives from El Paso County, and one director each from Manitou, Green Mountain Falls and Fountain.

"As to the allocation of those members, where they come from, there has been talk about how we can maybe split that up between city council and the mayor's office," says Lathen. "Even in that, they must be elected officials so there's that accountability."

An estimated rate schedule was also reviewed. Rates are to be determined by impervious area in square feet. the task force estimates the average cost for single family residence to be about $7.70 per month. That fee won't change for the first five years of the PPRDA's existence. Beyond that, it's capped at a one percent increase per year.

Many participants thought the meeting was productive, but were frustrated by the absence of Colorado Springs Mayor, Steve Bach.

"We will continue to ask the mayor to work with us as a council and a legislative body to accomplish good things for The City of Colorado Springs," says city council President Keith King. "If he chooses to participate, we're happy to participate with him. We can't talk to him if he doesn't show up."

While the mayor was absent, his opinions were not. He gave his Chief of Staff the authority to speak for him. "Some of them are difficult, but some the mayor feels very strongly about," Cox says. "That's what we presented today."

The amended agreement will be heard by city council on August 12th. Commissioners will hear a first reading on the 19th. The task force plans to have a draft of the ballot language before then.



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