COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado — When a sinkhole opened up in the parking lot of the Chapel Hills Mall this summer, the $40,000 repair quickly became more than a half a million dollar problem. A 72 inch storm drain buried beneath the mall property was damaged causing the sinkhole. The city was able to pay for the emergency project thanks to the voter approved Stormwater Enterprise Fee. Richard Mulledy, Stormwater Enterprise Manager for the City of Colorado Springs, said the fees brought in roughly $16 million in their first full year of collection.
"It's really quite in line with what we hoped for, that's about what we needed to run the stormwater enterprise," he said.
The money has helped Colorado Springs to keep its promise to Pueblo to fix some $460 million in drainage projects like the channel stabilization of Sand Creek.
"We're in our third year now, we're up close to $70 million of projects and money that we spend toward that issue," said Mulledy.
For residential property owners, the $5 monthly fee is primarily collected on monthly water bills. A third-party contractor currently collects the fees from residents who get water from wells or from commercial and industrial property owners who are charged based upon their acreage.
While a majority of people have paid the fees on time, roughly 100 accounts are more than 90 days overdue and face collections.
"Obviously, we've reached out to people and worked with them to get payment and then if enough time goes by, then we have to follow the procedures which are eventually a property lien," Mulledy said.
He said the number of overdue accounts keeps dropping every day and he wants to thank voters for investing in this infrastructure program.
"The projects that we're doing are a direct benefit to us, the secondary benefit is to help downstream."
All of the overdue accounts are for non-residential property types. City code allows for property tax liens to be levied when the amount owed surpasses $200.