The Pueblo County Board of Commissioners gave its approval to an intergovernmental agreement between Pueblo and Colorado Springs to deal with stormwater runoff and concerns between the two cities.
The final agreement included amendments requested by Pueblo County’s Commissioners, according to the press release announcing the approval.
One amendment emphasized that the “cooperative and collaborative relationship” between Pueblo County Colorado Springs, regarding storm water mitigation, extends beyond the 20 years of the agreement.
The second says that money spent on protection of Pueblo’s levees including sedimentation removal and debris removal would also include the removal of vegetation.
“I’ve heard several people comment about how this agreement is symbolic of the end,” said Commissioner Terry Hart. “This isn’t an end at all. It’s a beginning. The beginning of a new relationship. A beginning of a new process in which we can roll up our sleeves put together our resources and tackle the problems the two communities share.”
The amendments were made to the draft IGA after a public comment hearing on April 18. Colorado Springs City Council approved the amendments and signed the IGA on Wednesday, April 20.
The proposed IGA commits:
- Colorado Springs to spend at least $460 million throughout the next 20 years (an average of $23 million a year).
- Colorado Springs to complete a list of 71 specific stormwater control projects and to fund maintenance of Colorado Springs’ stormwater infrastructure and enforcement of its newly strengthened drainage regulations.
- The IGA would accelerate engineering studies and improvements to Fountain Creek, while avoiding the delays and expenses of potential litigation between the parties.
- Guarantees Pueblo County a significant role in the timing, prioritization, selection and verification of the dedicated stormwater mitigation projects.
- Guarantees Pueblo County has enforceability if Colorado Springs defaults on the IGA.
- The first payment to the Fountain Creek Watershed District of $9.6 million will be due within 30 days of the execution of the IGA, with subsequent payments of about $10 million each year thereafter due on January 15 of the years 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020.
- The funds can be used to construct flood control dams and other sediment and erosion controls on Fountain Creek below Colorado Springs for the benefit of Pueblo County residents and landowners.
- If the approved stormwater projects are not completed by 2035, the agreement renews for an additional period not to exceed five years at an additional $26 million a year until the projects are complete or a total of $130 million is spent.
- The agreement also calls for an additional $3 million to be contributed by Colorado Springs Utilities to protect the levees on Fountain Creek within the Pueblo (in addition to the $2.2 million previously contributed under Pueblo County’s 1041 Permit for the Southern Delivery System, and $125,000 to be contributed to the Fountain Creek Watershed, Flood Control and Greenway District to help fund its 2016 expenses.
- The proposed IGA also accelerates the payment of the $50 million payments for Fountain Creek mitigation required by the County’s 1041 Permit.
“We’ve often felt that we didn’t have great collaboration with our neighbors up north in Colorado Springs,” said Commissioner Sal Pace. “I’d had very little hope, years ago, that we would ever reach this point. I felt certain that this was going to end up in court and that we would not reach this kind of agreement. What we have is a dramatic improvement. I think the citizens of Pueblo are in a much better position to protect their lands and livelihoods. This collaboration is exciting and I hope it can be continued in other dealings.”