Thursday, November 03, 2011
CITY OF COLORADO SPRINGS/EL PASO COUNTY
The City of Colorado Springs/El Paso County Drainage Board held its regular meeting at 3:30 PM
MEMBERS PRESENT: Jeff Johnson, Ollie Watts, Emily Skalsky, Mike Bartusek, Kim Wright, John Schwab, Ken Bailey
OTHERS PRESENT: Tom Bonifas (City Engineering), Cheryl Callahan (City of Colorado Springs), Mike Cartmell (El Paso County), Mary Murray (City Finance), Steve Kuehster (EDRD)
Meeting called to order by Jeff Johnson at 3:31 p.m.
Item 1: Approval of the minutes from the August 4, 2011 Drainage Board Meeting
Motion by Emily Skalsky to approve the minutes
Motion passed unanimously 7-0
Item 2: Discussion of November 3, 2011 agenda
No additional changes.
Item 3: Financial Update
Mary Murray from City Finance stated the offset reconciliation is almost complete. There are some large developments that have not paid fees because the cost of the development will exceed the drainage fees. However, Ms. Murray would like to encourage those developers to submit a request for reimbursement for the facilities that have been built so there is a better record of what has been completed.
Ollie Watts brought the issue about Banning Lewis Ranch having $7million dollars in drainage fees that were deferred and now the development is bankrupt and has been purchased to drill wells. He believes that if the City is going to defer drainage fees then it should get a deed of trust so the land can be encumbered. Ms. Murray stated that there are options that are being looked into for situations like this. Issues such as the BLR were not fully realized until the reconciliations began. An option that is being considered is for the drainage fees to be placed in a separate escrow account so when the facilities are ready to be built, the builder can draw on those escrow funds.
Tom Bonifas further explained that as master plans come in for large developments that will require several millions of dollars in facilities, those facilities are not constructed until several subdivisions have been platted and developments occur to a certain extent. This has been the practice for the last 40 years. It is now being suggested that there be a better mechanism in place for situations like this that would ensure funds are available for future facility construction. Several concepts are being considered: post financial assurances as the properties are platted to obtain the fee obligation; use development agreements so the developers are contractually obligated to those facilities; have developers pay the drainage fees but the City would then encumber those fees for that specific master plan and the fees would not go directly into the basin fund. This last option would ensure the developers an instant reimbursement. The decision on how the program will run will need to come down from the management level.
They are looking at all sides of the program to find a better way to fund the administration costs of the program.
Item 4: Point of the Pines Gardens, Construction Cost Approval
Ollie Watts was excused from this item.
Tom Bonifas explained that this item was originally brought forward to get the construction costs approved for this development in order to review if the construction costs are going to be less than the drainage fees. Once the difference between the construction costs and drainage fees is established, the developer can then pay the difference. After review from the Engineering Development Review Department, this item then became a regular reimbursement item. The actual costs came in at about $10,000 higher than the drainage fees. The request is for the $107,372.69 minus the fee obligation outstanding of $97,008.08 for a total reimbursement of $10,364.61.
Motion by John Schwab to approve the drainage reimbursement as recommended by staff
Motion passed unanimously 6-0
Ollie Watts returned to the meeting.
Item 5: Update on the Big O Tire Addition
In December of 2010, the Drainage Board had an item for a request for a variance to the floodplain ordinance to allow Big O Tire addition on South Nevada to go forward with a finished floor elevation that was about four feet below the base flood elevation. The floodplain administrator, Michael Augustine, recommended a denial of the variance in accordance with the floodplain code and the Drainage Board ruled in favor of the denial.
Big O Tires worked with the floodplain administrator after the denial to raise the floors slightly and install flood proofing panels in the bay doors. Once these changes are complete, they will work with an engineering company to complete a flood map certification for the site to allow the floodplain administrator to sign off on the project.
Item 6: Housekeeping
Tom Bonifas informed the Drainage Board about an item that was previously presented in the August 4th meeting in regards to Cordera requesting to include improvements as reimbursable items and adjust the basin fee which the Drainage Board denied. The applicant is appealing that decision to City Council. They are also working with Stormwater and City Engineering in regards to the Cottonwood Creek Basin Planning Study which is in revision stage right now. The applicants are hoping to include facilities that were previously denied. If that happens, the applicant may come back and ask for reconsideration.
Mr. Bonifas suggested looking at the Drainage Board by-laws to change the wording on how decisions are appealed by City Council. Currently it just states that decisions can be appealed.
Mike Cartmell, El Paso County, presented the County’s drainage fee summary which includes the balance of the drainage and bridge fund and any outstanding reimbursements. There are several payouts scheduled for next month; one in the Jimmy Camp Creek Basin and another one in Bennett Ranch.
Tom Bonifas quarterly finance reports to include listing the plats that are recorded to date and the unplatted acreage.
Next month’s meeting will include the ethics training by a city attorney, review of the drainage fees for next year, and a couple of reimbursement items.