Voters Deny Stormwater Fee, Could Mean Lawsuit for Colorado Springs

In November, Colorado Springs, Colo., voters rejected a 20-year plan to create a regional stormwater authority and its associated fees. This has raised questions about how the city will pay for promised flood control projects and stormwater permit requirements. In late November, the Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District Board voted to issue a letter expressing their intent to sue. According to the board, Colorado Springs is violating its Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permit due to its failure to provide adequate funding for the program and its inability to reduce pollutants to the maximum extent practicable. This is the second time the board has considered litigation against Colorado Springs. However, the board did not take action the first time, after the city assured the board it would find a permanent funding source.

Separately, Pueblo County also has threatened Colorado Springs with legal action, as Colorado Springs Utilities promised flood control improvements on Fountain Creek as part of an agreement to move water from Pueblo Reservoir to Colorado Springs via the Southern Delivery System. At the time, Colorado Springs had a designated stormwater fee, but it ended in 2009. According to Colorado Springs Utilities, the money has been committed to mitigate the impacts of the Southern Delivery System on Fountain Creek in Pueblo County, and utility representatives say litigation could slow this process.

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