Thursday, April 21, 2016

City Council approves $460M deal with Pueblo County

Posted By on Thu, Apr 21, 2016 at 3:24 PM

click to enlarge A group of officials gathered back in March 2013 to break ground on the new Edward Bailey Water Treatment Plant for the Southern Delivery System. Next week, the pipeline and plant could be made fully operational. - COURTESY SPRINGS UTILITIES
  • Courtesy Springs Utilities
  • A group of officials gathered back in March 2013 to break ground on the new Edward Bailey Water Treatment Plant for the Southern Delivery System. Next week, the pipeline and plant could be made fully operational.

As expected, Colorado Springs City Council voted to approve a $460-million, 20-year deal with Pueblo County that shovels loads of cash into the city's stormwater drainage system.

The deal, approved on Wednesday, got the nod from all Council members, except Helen Collins, who didn't comment on why she voted against the intergovernmental agreement.

Now, Pueblo County Commissioners will vote on Monday, after which the Southern Delivery System water pipeline from Pueblo Reservoir can be activated, possibly as soon as April 27, utilities officials say.

The votes end a rigorous negotiation made necessary by the Springs largely ignoring stormwater needs after voters approved Issue 300, which essentially called for an end to the "rain tax" in November 2009 and Council responded by abolishing the city's fee-based stormwater enterprise the next month. The enterprise had been noted in the city's 1041 permit issued by Pueblo County the previous spring, so when it was dismantled, Pueblo County officials were furious.

From planning to completion, SDS has spanned well over a decade, involved payments for land to more than 300 landowners, several court cases and a few missteps, including spending more than $6 million for property for a reservoir on Jimmy Camp Creek and later abandoning that site.

The city is currently in court with a developer over the value of land used for SDS in the Fountain Valley, and faces another court case in May with David Jenkins, owner of the Banning Lewis Ranch, where SDS and a pump station also are built.

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