The Pueblo West Metropolitan District and Pueblo County government voted to ratify a new intergovernmental agreement, or IGA, regarding the maintenance of roads in Pueblo West. The Pueblo West Board of Directors approved the language in the agreement on May 8 and the Pueblo County Board of Commissioners gave their approval on May 18.
Read the full text of the intergovernmental agreement to learn more.
What does this agreement mean for Pueblo West residents? Let’s investigate the details.
First, a little history…
In 2002, the Pueblo West Metro District and Pueblo County entered into an IGA about Pueblo West road maintenance. That agreement put Pueblo West in charge of its own road maintenance and, in exchange, the County would divert a proportional share of Highway User Tax Funds, or HUTF, to Pueblo West. HUTF comes from the state of Colorado, collected from registration fees, traffic tolls, etc. Those funds are paid out to counties and cities around the state.
However, since the passage of that IGA, Pueblo West’s population has doubled, which resulted in added wear to the community’s approximately 400 miles of roads. During that time, the amount Pueblo West received from HUTF funds remained virtually unchanged.
To address this, in 2014 and 2018, Pueblo West voters were presented with a ballot question to raise sales tax to pay for improved road maintenance. Both measures failed. In Nov. 2021, the Pueblo West Metro District Board of Directors voted to enact a clause in the 2002 IGA that allowed the district to return road maintenance responsibility to Pueblo County if Pueblo West provides a 60-month notice.
To accelerate this process, Pueblo County offered to assume road maintenance responsibilities on Jan. 1, 2023 if Pueblo West voters passed a 1% sales tax increase. The measure passed in November 2022.
Why was an IGA required? Didn’t the election already decide who would maintain Pueblo West roads?
While the Pueblo County Road and Bridge Department began maintaining Pueblo West roads on Jan. 1, a new IGA was legally required for the transfer of responsibilities to become final. Additionally, an IGA was required to outline the terms of this new arrangement while also superseding the 2002 IGA.
Since November, Pueblo West and Pueblo County leaders have spent hundreds of hours cooperatively planning and discussing legal, logistical, and workforce-related issues.
The agreement includes a transition of legal ownership of real estate, equipment, and vehicles. Perhaps the most important piece was the people, both parties doing whatever was legally possible to ensure that Pueblo West public works employees could transition to employment with Pueblo County. Every bit of due diligence was taken to make sure the process wasn’t rushed and that future leaders had a sound agreement to work from.
In addition, the transfer of road maintenance responsibility had unforeseen circumstances as far as governmental separation of duties between Pueblo West and Pueblo County. The district’s fleet department, standard stormwater permit from the Colorado Department Public Health and Environment, and a previous agreement with the City of Pueblo to manage Pueblo West traffic lights were also impacted and will require future IGAs to address.
“Our partnership with the County on working out the legal details of this agreement was truly unprecedented. Both governments worked in good faith since January 1 to allow the County the resources they needed to take over road maintenance duties while the legal details of an IGA were crafted,” said Pueblo West Interim District Manager Christian J. Heyn.
Another result of this transfer of duties is the dissolution of the Metro District public works department, which was chiefly focused on road maintenance.
What does this mean for me?
For the average Pueblo West resident, all that’s truly important is that any road maintenance requests, including signage, road drainage, and right-of-way or access permits, must now be sent to the Pueblo County Road and Bridge Department at 719-583-6040.
Traffic signals issues should also be directed to Pueblo County since the IGA between Pueblo West and the City of Pueblo expires June 30th, where the County will transition into maintaining signals with a new IGA or independently from the City of Pueblo.
Contact the Pueblo West Metropolitan District Community Relations Department at 719-251-8723