Flood Disaster Study Committee Considers Solutions

(Dec. 20) – The bipartisan Flood Disaster Study Committee turned its attention today to legislation for the upcoming legislative session, approving two bills and debating seven others.

The two bills that received the go ahead from the committee were a bill sponsored by Sen. Matt Jones (D-Louisville) that would give counties more flexibility to use general money to fix damaged roads and bridges and a bill from Rep. Jerry Sonnenberg (R-Sterling) that allows a head gate for an irrigation ditch to be relocated due to a change in the natural flow of the ditch. Both bills were approved unanimously.

Other bills included one from Rep. Mike Foote (D-Lafayette) that would streamline emergency response time and give the governor the ability to declare a disaster without prior presidential declaration.

Rep. Jonathan Singer (D-Boulder) discussed with committee members an idea where property owners who had their property destroyed would not pay property taxes or would have those taxes reimbursed.

The co-chairman of the Committee, Rep. Dave Young (D-Greeley), proposed legislation to prioritize flood damaged schools in the allocation of revenue from school capital construction.

“I am encouraged by the ongoing conversations this bi-partisan committee is having,” Rep. Young said. “At our next meeting we will continue to discuss these proposed solutions and others to continue to help these communities recover.”

The Study Committee was formed in response to the devastating floods that hit Colorado in September. The committee will meet again before the start of the session to finalize its support for these proposed bills. It is uncertain whether all nine bills will be advanced during the 2014 session.

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