Storm Water Bond Ballot Question 2A - June 24, 2014 Primary Election
Longmont Flood Information
In the primary election completed on June 24, 2014, Longmont voters approved the issuance of $20 million in bonds to fund storm drainage improvements. Boulder County Elections reports 68.92% of votes received were in favor of issuing the bonds.
What Are Voters Being Asked to Do?
The City of Longmont is asking voters to approve the issuance of $20 million in bonds to fund storm drainage improvements that are needed for future flood mitigation. The improvements will include channel restoration along St. Vrain Creek from just west of Hover Road to Martin Street, as well as other necessary infrastructure upgrades to enable the creek to pass 100-year flood flows.
Record of Past Flood Mitigation Projects
In 2007, voters approved a bond issuance to fund the following flood mitigation projects:
- Left Hand Creek Flood Control Project in Southmoor Park – Completed
- Lykins Gulch Project – Completed
- Spring Gulch #2 – Completed
- Highway 66 Detention Pond - Completed
PLANNING AHEAD UPPED LONGMONT’S CHANCES IN FLOOD, OFFICIALS SAY
Longmont Times-Call, 9/21/2013, Reporter Scott Rochat
|“The [September 2013] flood actually put two major flood improvements to the test, both completed within the past four years. The Left Hand work widened and deepened the channel near [Southmoor Park], replacing the South Pratt Parkway Bridge and adding culverts under Main Street. Meanwhile, a 2009 project at Lykins Gulch aimed the waterway at Golden Ponds rather than have it hit a small ditch at Airport Road and spill over the surrounding landscape.”
Extending Flood Protection to St. Vrain Creek
If the 2014 Storm Water Bond issuance is approved, the City of Longmont will be able to construct the first phase of flood mitigation measures along St. Vrain Creek. The planned stream channel modifications and infrastructure upgrades along St. Vrain Creek will further protect Longmont from future flood damage, just as the previous projects along Left Hand Creek and Lykins Gulch helped to minimize damage in the 2013 flood.
How Much Will This Cost?
The cost to make St. Vrain Creek capable of holding a 100-year flood all the way through Longmont has been estimated at $65 - $80 million.
If voters approve the bonds for $20 million, the City of Longmont will be able to combine that money with other available funds to locally support $48 million in flood mitigation efforts.
Arguments For and Against the Storm Water Bond Issue
Those in favor believe:
- By issuing bonds for capital storm drainage improvement projects, the City is able to complete the projects sooner, and reduce the risk of serious flooding to existing homes and businesses.
- Bond financing results in user rates that are lower than if cash was used to fund the improvements; it also distributes costs more equitably across both current and future residents.
- This ballot issue does not raise taxes or increase user fees; instead, it allows the City to borrow money. If these projects are cash funded, it could take decades to collect enough fees to pay for the projects.
- By issuing the bonds, it will put the City in a stronger position to cover the remaining funding gap of $17 - $32 million by having necessary local funds to apply for grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the Community Development Block Grant Program.
Those opposed believe:
- The City should not incur public debt to fund new projects of this type; other sources should be found.
- Rates or fees should be increased and collected over time until there is sufficient money to pay for the improvements.
- Although cash funding the improvements would result in higher rates for several years, the rates would eventually come down because there would be no bond interest to be paid.
- The City should not be responsible for protecting housing and businesses built in flood prone areas.
- The City should not make large investments in flood mitigation, because events such as the September 2013 flood are very rare.
The June 24 Primary Election will be conducted via mail ballot. Voters registered as Democrat or Republican will see the Storm Water Bond Question (2A) on their ballots along with party candidates. Independent voters will receive a ballot with only the Storm Water Bond Question. Ballots will be mailed out during the first week of June. Completed ballots must be received by the county clerk by 7:00 p.m. on June 24, 2014.
For more information, please visit the City Clerk's web page.