A top metro area to start a business.

The second-most desirable place to live.

One of the 10 hottest real estate markets to watch.

Colorado Springs is taking its rightful place among the best cities in the country, as evidenced by these and other recent rankings. Unfortunately, we also lay claim to a less favorable status — the only major city in the United States without a dedicated fund to properly maintain stormwater drainage and flood prevention.

While “Best Of” and “Top Place” rankings make attractive headlines, they are not a solution to our community’s long-standing stormwater problems that affect businesses and residents.

• Our city’s stormwater drainage and flood prevention infrastructure has deteriorated to dangerous levels, leaving our city vulnerable to damaging floods and impaired water quality.

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• We are fighting a costly lawsuit from the Environmental Protection Agency, which along with the State of Colorado, has sued us for violating municipal stormwater standards.

• Because we don’t have dedicated funds for stormwater drainage and flood control, the city’s general fund is strained and other priorities, such as police staffing, are suffering.

• Eroding stream banks threaten our roads, bridges and utilities lines.

• Costly damage is being done to our parks, trails and open spaces.

Colorado Springs is a growing, thriving community, and our infrastructure must keep up. We can take the lead and be part of the solution by voting YES for 2A this November.

Supported by business leaders and residents alike, City Ballot Question 2A asks voters to approve a small monthly charge — $5 for residential and $30 per acre for non-residential — that would be dedicated only to stormwater drainage and flood prevention infrastructure. These funds, stewarded by a committee of citizens and sunsetting after 20 years, could only be used for a specific list of 71 improvement projects across Colorado Springs and related stormwater maintenance. The charge is comparable to or lower than other cities with similar programs.

Voting YES on 2A means:

• improved roads and bridges;

• better protection against natural disasters;

• more police officers on the streets;

• improved parks and trails; and

• more efficient use of your tax dollars.

The proposed dedicated funding commitment would allow Mayor John Suthers and Colorado Springs City Council to free up general fund money for priorities such as public safety, instead of being used on piecemeal fixes to our stormwater drainage and flood control system. Furthermore, a dedicated stormwater fund will use taxpayer money more efficiently. If we don’t invest now, it’s going to cost us more in the long run.

The Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce & EDC’s Board of Directors and Government Affairs Council both endorsed City Ballot Question 2A. We believe so strongly in the need for this measure that we are managing the “Invest in COS” campaign, and we have made a sizable contribution of funding and staff time to its success.

It is past time we properly fund our city’s stormwater and flood prevention. This election, be part of the solution. Invest in Colorado Springs and vote YES on 2A.

Dirk Draper, president and CEO, Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce & EDC

5 COMMENTS

  1. If the stormwater fee is such a great idea, why do they need to include the unrelated “parks and trails” element? Is it because they know that people who pay attention don’t trust their fiscal stewardship, so they have to go after the ignorant voters who would “vote for better trails and all that other stuff”?

  2. Here’s an indiaction of the importance the City has placed on fixing stormwater. The following is an excerpt from the 2015 EPA study cited in the EPA lawsuit and accompanying facts about the City’s priority-setting in funding stormwater.

    From the 2015 Study by the EPA:
    “Of the 105 projects on the CIP [Capital Improvement] list, it appeared that four stormwater oriented projects were included and slated for funding in 2015:
    •Companion Drainage Projects – $412,000. • Drainage Basin Planning Studies – $150,000. • Emergency Drainage Repairs High Priority – $500,000. • Infrastructure Damage Repair – $80,000.”

    Though the City couldn’t seem to find a high enough priority for much stormwater spending in 2015’s Capital Improvement budget, here’s what the City did find funding for on that list (taken from 2015 Budget):
    Downtown Streetscape Project $864,000
    Museum Exterior Renovation $299,550
    Museum HVAC Upgrades $200,000
    On-Street Bikeway Improvements $411,970
    Summit House Design $1,500,000
    Fire Station Bathroom Remodel: $517,625 (2019)

  3. ya whatever!!! been here for 30 yrs and they have been trying to push this off on us for at least 20. yet they wont listen to the people and find another way to raise the money. I for one would let the rec pots shops come into town then collect THOSE TAXES……. but noooooooooooo Suthers would rather collect from …YOU!!!! I mean what is wrong with this guy? does he not understand? he doesn’t represent the people of this city by not listening to us and then trying to charge us out our collective noses…… we have asked SEVERAL times to add this to the ballot so the city can start to prosper again…….but still no. so no new taxes.

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