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Leaders disagree over stormwater solutions

Disagreement Over Solving Stormwater Problems

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The Colorado Springs mayor, city council and El Paso County commissioners disagree on how to fix problems with southern Colorado's stormwater, including issues with drainage and infrastructure.

The City Council and El Paso County commissioners have been working on a solution with the Regional Stormwater Task Force. But Mayor Steve Bach introduced his own plan at a stormwater meeting Wednesday.

The task force proposes creating an authority or governing district to be in charge of stormwater projects. It would be made up of different cities and counties along the Fountain watershed. Money to pay for projects would come from each of those governments and from a fee property owners would pay.

Mayor Bach doesn't want a new staff to lead the stormwater authority. He said the city of Colorado Springs can manage the program. And he wants all the money for projects to come from the governments, not property owners.

"Until and unless I'm convinced that we have exerted every effort to redeploy dollars within our existing cash flow to meet these needs, I just can't support asking my fellow citizens to dig deeper into their pockets," he said.

The task force said it doesn't think the projects can be paid for without the extra fees.

"Nobody likes to have a fee in place to solve these things, but when you start looking around the state and finding out we're really the largest city in the state that does not have a stormwater program, we need one," Stormwater Task Force chair John Cassiani said.

Both the task force and the mayor agree on tackling stormwater problems through a regional approach.

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