The city had estimated $1.5 million in revenue for next year through the collection of past-due stormwater fees.
But earlier this week, the council decided not to send past-due stormwater accounts of less than $20 to the El Paso County treasurer for collection through property tax bills.
The council also decided to figure out a different way to collect on properties with unpaid stormwater fees that have changed ownership since January. The council wants to hold the previous owners, not the new owners, accountable for their past-due fees. The city is trying to determine how to refund property owners who paid stormwater fees that the previous owner neglected to pay.
The council’s decisions, which violated the open-meetings law, triggered financial repercussions in the mayor’s spending plan.
“We do believe it’s going to be a significant amount of money,” Budget Manager Lisa Bigelow said Friday.
“We’re trying to run some queries right now to try to determine who would not be paying that,” she said.
After Thursday’s public hearing on the 2012 budget, Mayor Steve Bach said a $1.5 million contingency fund that he had proposed for his office for next year was already getting “chopped” because of the council’s decision.
“Council just decided illegally, excuse me, apparently, allegedly, excuse me, according to (The Gazette) , council just decided we’re not going to collect all that money,” Bach said.
“That $1.5 million contingency fund just got chopped … and we haven’t started the year yet,” he added.