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Pueblo Residents Give Input On $460M Stormwater Deal

Apr 19, 2016

By: Kyla Galer – Email  | View the Video Broadcast Here!

{The proposed stormwater project would go towards 71 flood prevention projects over the next two decades.}

While most of the Pueblo County commissioners say they're excited to reach a stormwater deal with Colorado Springs after months and months of negotiating, not all citizens are on board.

"Stab me in the back once, shame on you. Stab me in the back twice, shame on me."

It's fair to say Mark Carmel has trust issues with Colorado Springs.

With broken promises in the past, Carmel says he doesn't believe the Springs will follow through with their end of the agreement.

"I believe it's written in invisible ink, and with the taxpayer bill of rights that emanated from Colorado Springs it can be not funded each year," he said.

In the "monumental deal," as Commissioner Buffie McFadyen describes it, Colorado Springs pledged $460 million to Pueblo for stormwater control.

It's to help prevent more catastrophic flooding in Pueblo County when Fountain Creek overflows in Colorado Springs and heads south.

The money would go towards 71 projects in Pueblo over the next 20 years. If those projects are not completed by 2035, it would cost the Springs another $26 million each year for a maximum of five years to finish those projects.

Carmel and other residents opposed to the deal are concerned with the timeline. Monday afternoon, those citizens told the county commissioners this is only going to help the next 20 years--so it seems to them as just a temporary fix.

"We have no permanent funding source. They're proposing a 20-year deal, what happens in year 21 and beyond?" Carmel asked.

Pueblo resident John Singletary was among the majority of citizens on Monday who are in favor of the deal.

"I think the commissioners and their legal staff have put together an enforcement as good as you can get," said Singletary. "It's way overdue that both of these communities need to work together on different projects, especially on Fountain Creek and the Fountain drainage area."

County commissioners tell 11 News deals like this have failed in the past because Pueblo had no say in which projects would be completed. They say this deal is different because it allows both sides to decide which projects should be worked on each year.

Pueblo and Colorado Springs will vote on the intergovernmental agreement by next week.

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