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Approximately 30 communities in Colorado have stormwater utilities that incorporate fees comparable to the stormwater utility fee that Cañon City has established. Others use dedicated property taxes, development fees, sales taxes, and other sources in various combinations to finance their stormwater management programs.
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Stormwater runoff is the water that flows over the ground as the result of rain, snow melt, hail and sleet. The following structures prevent the water from soaking into the ground:
These structures are referred to as impervious surfaces. Runoff is collected by storm sewer infrastructure such as inlets and pipes and ultimately transported to the Arkansas River. As water flows over the ground, it picks up everything in its path, such as sediment, oil, grease, litter and chemicals, taking it all to the river without treatment.
Cañon City, like other communities, needs to manage stormwater to:
The Stormwater Program provides the following services:
The stormwater utility is an independent funding mechanism to pay for the cost of services related to the implementation of the stormwater management program, much like the water and wastewater utilities.
As of January 1, 2022 the fee is $0.004659 per square foot of impervious surface on a property.
“Impervious Surface” means a surface area which is compacted or covered with material that is resistant to infiltration by water, including, but not limited to:
All property owners within the Cañon City limits are required to pay. This includes non-profit entities such as churches, schools and institutions, as well as properties owned by the City of Cañon City, Fremont County, the State of Colorado, and the federal government.
The Stormwater Utility fee is included in the monthly water bill for all residents and businesses on City water. For those not on City water, a Stormwater Utility bill is sent out monthly.
The Stormwater Utility fee is the first line under “Service Code and Description” on your water bill. The code is “ST” followed by the square footage of impervious area on the property. The square footage is multiplied by the utility rate of $0.004659 to give the fee for one month.
You may contact the Stormwater Program at 719-276-5265 to inquire about the amount of impervious surface on your property or you can fill out the Stormwater Utility Inquiry/Update Form (PDF).
New impervious area may have been added to the property (e.g. sheds, driveways, patios) or impervious area may have been removed. Impervious area is updated through building permits for new structures or by periodic review of properties by stormwater personnel.
Fees can be reduced through the replacement of excess impervious area (such as unused parking lots) with landscaped green space. Fees may also be adjusted for properties where impervious surfaces have been added specifically for mobility impairment above and beyond what would be typical for the type of residence. To learn more about this program, or to see if your property is eligible, please contact the City Engineer’s office at 719-269-9010.
The Stormwater Utility Fee is a fixed rate. The actual fee amount is based on the total amount of impervious area on a property, which varies from property to property.
While some people believe that no stormwater runs off their property into the system (this may be true for smaller storm events), however, during larger storms this would be impossible. Also, water that soaks into the ground may still eventually enter groundwater or migrate into the stormwater system underground.
Additionally, we all use the City street system as drivers or recipients of goods and services. This network of impervious surfaces’ impact must be mitigated as well by us all collectively paying for its management. All residents within the Cañon City limits benefit from the repair and maintenance of the stormwater system and from capital projects which protect our community.
Remember that it is not only the quantity of stormwater the City is managing, but also the water quality of the runoff. The programs mandated by the City’s stormwater permit, and funded by the utility fee, help keep the runoff as clean as possible without actual active treatment, which benefits everyone.
No. The Stormwater Utility fee was never intended to be a “rain drop for rain drop” comparison as to how much rain falls on a property and how much runs off the property. Even water captured in rain barrels will eventually make its way back into the hydrologic system. The fee is based on the amount of impervious surfaces on each property and is the most equitable for all citizens to contribute to the cost of maintaining and improving our stormwater infrastructure. All residents within Cañon City benefit from the repair and maintenance of the stormwater system and from capital projects which protect our community.
The Stormwater Utility Service Area encompasses all properties within the Cañon City limits. The Stormwater Utility currently provides public drainage services for about 12.45 square miles. This service area is subject to change as the City annexes areas.
Within the service area, the City is responsible for maintaining:
The Stormwater Utility Fee collected $1,832,517 in 2021.
No, the Stormwater Utility fee is not tax deductible and cannot be claimed on your taxes. This fee is the same as any other utility service such as water, sewer, or electricity.
Report any clogged storm drains to the Cañon City Stormwater Program at (719) 276-5265. You may also fill out a report via SeeClickFix. We will contact the responsible entity as applicable.
For more information about the Stormwater Utility, see the Stormwater Utility page. For more information about stormwater quality and the Stormwater Program, see the Stormwater Quality page, or contact the Stormwater Program at 719-276-5265.
Satellite imagery and aerial photography were used to determine and calculate impervious areas initially. Many properties have subsequently been surveyed on-site to update the impervious area for individual parcels.
A tax is a rate or duty, levied each year for the purposes of general revenue, regardless of the benefit accruing to the property or person taxed. Taxes require approval by the public through voting.
A utility fee is a charge for a particular service and is a dedicated revenue source. In other words, the stormwater utility fee can only be used for stormwater management and capital improvements. The fee is also applied to otherwise tax-exempt entities such as:
Utility fees are not required by the Colorado State Constitution to be put to public vote. A utility fee is a fairer approach for funding our State and Federally mandated stormwater management.