At the Feb. 11 informal Colorado Springs City Council meeting, Regional Stormwater Task Force members gave presentations to City Council on their findings — most notably that $906 million in capital stormwater projects are needed in the Pikes Peak region.
The task force then took questions from Councilors. Most important: When will the task force look at ways to find the money?
Public Works director and city engineer Helen Migchelbrink indicated there was no timeline for that. Mayoral Chief of Staff Laura Neumann added that Mayor Steve Bach and Council needed to talk about it. "There still remains some disagreements," she said.
And there have been some major disagreements.
Citizen volunteers have said Bach has insulted their work. Bach has called for a third-party review of the task force's findings — using city funds — and said the task force need not investigate funding options. The mayor has said he wants Colorado Springs Utilities to pay for the city's stormwater needs — though that decision is up to the City Council, which hasn't been as friendly to the polarizing idea.
The power struggle over whether the task force will ever move forward played out further in the Council meeting.
Neumann and Migchelbrink told Councilors the regional task force had completed its work. But, confusingly, Migchelbrink acknowledged that a regional group, which included city staff, continued to meet.
Then County Commissioners Amy Lathen and Dennis Hisey came to the stand.
"This task force continues to meet," Lathen said. "They do exist."
The two indicated commissioners planned to pass a resolution Feb. 19, proclaiming that the county will work regionally toward a funding solution to stormwater. They hoped Council would pass the same resolution, as early as Feb. 26.
Reflecting on the odd charade, City Council President Pro Tem Jan Martin told the Independent later, "We just couldn't get a clear answer, so I think everybody's still unsure about how we move forward with stormwater."