Thursday, January 05, 2012
CITY OF COLORADO SPRINGS/EL PASO COUNTY
The City of Colorado Springs/El Paso County Drainage Board held its regular meeting at 2:00 PM
MEMBERS PRESENT: Jeff Johnson, Ollie Watts, Emily Skalsky, Kim Wright, John Schwab, Ken Bailey, Mike Bartusek
OTHERS PRESENT: Tom Bonifas (City Engineering), Cheryl Callahan (City of Colorado Springs), Mike Cartmell (El Paso County), Mary Murray (City Finance), J. B. Johnson (Becker Johnson), Tom Taylor (HBA), Steve Kuehster (EDRD), Dan Bare (City Engineering), Candice Bridgers (City Finance)
Meeting called to order by Jeff Johnson at 2:00 p.m.
Item 1: Approval of the minutes from the December 1, 2011 Drainage Board Meeting
Motion by Ollie Watts to approve the minutes
Motion passed unanimously 7-0
Item 2: Discussion of the January 5, 2012 agenda
No additions and no changes.
Item 3: Drainage Reimbursement for Garden of the Gods Storage Subdivision
Ollie Watts was excused from this item as his company was the civil engineer on this project.
Tom Bonifas advised the Board that this is a request for reimbursement in the amount of $51,893.60 related to improvements in the Douglas Creek Drainage Basin for a subdivision named Garden of the Gods Storage Subdivision. A note is made that when this subdivision was platted, no cash fees were collected at the time so the drainage fees will be offset by this credit and other drainage credits. At that time, the facility costs were estimated to be less than the fee obligations. The property owner made an assignment of $31,000.00 worth of credits from another party. Once the facilities were constructed and City Engineering reviewed the invoices, the facilities were slightly higher than the fees. This difference will show in the cash reimbursement spreadsheet.
John Schwab wanted to know if 24” concrete pipe was noted as reimbursable in the Douglas Creek Drainage Basin Planning Study. Steve Kuehster (Engineering Development Review) responded by stating that the study done in 1981 had this as a small open channel. The downstream part that this facility connected to is an open channel and was substituted with a pipe as it made more sense at the time.
Motion by Emily Skalsky to approve the reimbursement requested of $51,893.60
Motion passed unanimously 6-0
Ollie Watts returned to the meeting.
Item 4: Storm Drainage Quarterly Accounting Update
Mary Murray stated that based on a previous audit, finance agreed to provide a complete listing of all the outstanding reimbursements at the Drainage Board Annual Meeting. Ms. Murray provided the Board with a list of the drainage reimbursements, the pond reimbursements, and the bridge reimbursements in this month’s packet. She also advised that the offset reconciliation was complete. These are amounts where in specific basins, fees are not paid because the facilities costs are presumed to exceed drainage fees if those fees were to be charged. Ms. Murray also provided a report on acres platted from 2004 on, based on basin and fees and what has been paid.
Ken Bailey wanted to know if the reports were chronological as far as being paid out. Ms. Murray advised that they all have priority number which will dictate who would be reimbursed next. So it is chronological based on six month blocks.
Item 5: Election of Drainage Board Chair and Vice Chair
Tom Bonifas advised that according to the by-laws, the Drainage Board must elect a Chair and Vice-Chair each year. Jeff Johnson was the only one that responded to Mr. Bonifas his interest in continuing as Chair.
John Schwab indicated that he is interested in a 2nd term.
Motion by Emily Skalsky to keep Jeff Johnson as the Chair and John Schwab as the Vice-Chair
Motion passed unanimously 7-0
Item 6: Housekeeping
Tom Bonifas reminded the Board that they approved a recommendation to City Council for a 6% increase in drainage basin fees; this now being opposed by HBA (Home Builders Association). City Staff has discussed this with Nancy Johnson, Deputy Chief of Staff, who will discuss this with Steve Cox and the Mayor. By ordinance, this item needs to go before Council as a resolution. Mr. Bonifas will keep the Board members updated as progress is made but wanted the Board to know that there is opposition this time.
Mr. Bonifas continued to explain that the say analysis was made this time as in all the previous studies and the recommendation was for the 6% increase: 4% retroactive and 2% looking forward. This is more of an administrative decision at this point and City Staff is waiting to hear what decisions will be made on moving this forward.
Ken Bailey wanted to know if there were any opportunities prior to these discussions in the future for each side of the issue to be heard before and increase is suggested. Mr. Bonifas stated there might be options. He had discussed this with an HBA member who felt that they did not know this was coming. Mr. Bonifas had informed him that we have never taken a fee adjustment forward without bringing it to the Drainage Board and allowing for this public process. The Drainage Board is always an open public meeting with agenda items posted a week in advance on the City website. Mr. Bonifas did suggest that moving forward this issue is brought forward earlier and possibly walk this through a public review process. This process is not required and the Drainage Board is the entity that recommends to City Council the fee structures. Regardless of other opposition, Council has the final say in setting the fee structures. Mr. Bonifas referred back to last year that whether the fees are increasing or not, a resolution must be passed by City Council to set the new fee structure. Last year the recommendation was to make no changes to the fee structure and several council members wanted to discuss why we weren’t raising fees. Several council members felt fees should have been increased but they base their approval on the Drainage Board’s recommendation.
Jeff Johnson wanted to point out that every month, the Drainage Board agenda is sent out at least a week in advance and several HBA members are included in the copy section. Last month’s agenda included the item to discuss the drainage basin fee structure and Mr. Johnson stated that if they had an interest, they should have stated so then and that moving forward the HBA needs to be at the meetings and be involved or accept the board’s decision.
Mike Bartusek wanted to clarify that until the 2012 fee structure is passed by resolution through City Council, will the current 2011 fees still apply. Mr. Bonifas advised that this is the case.
Ken Bailey wanted to have staff make a bigger point of inviting groups such as the HBA to the meetings of this nature. Mr. Bonifas stated that even though we are not obligated to do so, staff can make a bigger effort to reach out specifically to HBA when this issue arises in the future.
Emily Skalsky asked how this affected the County. Mike Cartmell stated that he is unaware of any opposition but would defer to Jennifer Irvine who has been filling in for him during his absence. The County follows the same process: Drainage Board recommends a fee structure, recommendation is taken to the El Paso County Board of Commissioners, and a resolution is passed. Until then, the current fees are still in place.
Mr. Bonifas will forward the opposition concerns from the HBA to the Board members and El Paso County.
No further business