BRIGHTON — The Adams County Board of Commissioners voted Monday, Jan. 6, to a series of changes to how the county handles its controversial stormwater fee program.
The board approved three resolutions during the session pertaining to the Adams County stormwater utility program:
• A resolution maintaining the existing cap on stormwater fees, which was implemented in April 2013.
• A resolution authorizing County Manager Todd Leopold to determine the billing procedure for the stormwater utility, effectively removing the fee from the county’s property tax statements.
• A resolution to establish a permanent Stormwater Advisory Board to make recommendations “regarding the priority of capital improvement projects and infrastructure needs” to the commissioners.
The board will consist of seven members: Four members from from unincorporated Adams County and three members from Adams County municipalities residing west of Schumaker Road, all of whom would be appointed by the commissioners.
The Stormwater Advisory Board would be filled at first with three members serving two-year terms and four members serving four-year terms. Following the initial terms, all members would serve four-year terms, according to the resolution passed by the commissioners.
“The Board of County Commissioners appreciates the hard work and thoughtfulness put forth by all the members of the stormwater task force,” said Board Chair Eva J. Henry in a news release. “Capping the fees while increasing community input is a solution that best serves the current and future needs of the residents and businesses in unincorporated Adams County.”
These amendments to the stormwater utility program come about six months after a citizen task force was created to garner input from residents about the fee, which is assessed to all unincorporated properties west of Schumaker Road.
The funds collected are designated for maintaining the existing stormwater system, addressing deficiencies and needs, as well as ensuring compliance with Adams County’s stormwater permitting process.
The program has been the source of substantial controversy from residents who claimed the initial fee assessments were incorrect and that the program itself amounted to an end-run on the Colorado Taxpayer Bill of Rights.
The latter claim is currently the main contention in a lawsuit filed by a stormwater opposition group against the county, alleging that the fee program is essentially a tax that was not approved by voters.
For more on the background of the stormwater utility controversy in Adams County, visit us online at www.thebrightonblade.com.