Stormwater drainage has been long discussed in Colorado Springs and across the Pikes Peak Region, but the problems remain. The problems were more evident immediately following the Waldo Canyon Fire after flash flooding and runoff overwhelmed the system. Experts said Colorado Springs will be dealing with similar problems for years.
A stormwater task force and government employees have presented findings to Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach and report that the cost to fix the system will be millions more than the the $500-million estimation. The news prompted Bach to ask for a consultant's second opinion. Some activists and city leaders are calling the move a road block, but Bach said that is not the case.
"Not unlike if you go to a doctor and you are diagnosed with a life threatening illness, which this could be for us fiscally, it really could be, I think it is prudent to get a second opinion," said Bach.
Bach said he has spoken to citizens about the issue and that they did not tell him they disapproved of the process. Other city leaders said they have heard there is a divide between those looking for municipal and regional solutions.
"I think that is key for success. We need regional cooperation. We have talked about it for years. I am a little bit afraid of seeing, I said, dismantling of the community because we do see different groups not working together," said District 3 Council Woman Lisa Czelatdko.
Bach called the idea he is not interested in a regional solution a misunderstanding.
"The conversation last Friday at that meeting turned to what some people called the regional solution which is code for a tax increase... I cannot support that," said Bach.
During an interview with KRDO NewsChannel13 Bach said he does want the entire region to find a solution for the stormwater drainage problems, but pointed out the majority of the problems are within the city.
The Mayor said he will not support a Colorado Springs Utility backed proposed tax, and that he believes the millions of dollars can be raise by using sales tax monies and by making city government more efficient.
Bach also said Colorado Springs Utilities should find money in their own budget to pay for a share of the cost as well.