Adams County Financials Conflicts With Stormwater Utility Justification

Adams County BOCC Terminates County Attorney

The Denver post reported that Adams County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) terminated their county attorney, Jennifer Wascak. According to the release, the BOCC decided to pursue a different direction in the County Attorney’s Office.  No other reason was offered in the statement for letting Wascak go, but local buzz has residents wondering if possible litigation around the Stormwater Utility has any bearing on the separation.

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community meeting— held at the Werth Manor Event Center in Commerce City in early March was hosted by the Stop Stormwater Utility Tax – a group of residents in opposition to the new “fee.” The meeting attracted over 450 property owners who allege the newly implemented fees are actually taxes and should be subject to voter approval. Many attendees were farmers, retired and on fixed incomes.

The stormwater utility fee, which was approved by the Board of County Commissioners during their Sept. 19 2012 public meeting, allows for an annual allocation of $5.1 million “to plan, construct, acquire, operate, and maintain flood control facilities as well as to manage stormwater quality” in line with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency unfunded mandates and regulatory requirements. In all, the stormwater utility fee affects about 27,000 unincorporated Adams County residents.

At the gathering, Denver Attorney Sean Gallagher, who is working on behalf of the group, said the fee may violate Colorado’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR), which requires voter approval on state and local government tax rate increases. The group was organizing to present Adams BOCC a mass petition calling on the three sitting county commissioners to repeal the fee.  They are working on a plan to file a lawsuit against the county in the event the “fee” is not repealed.
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