Groups look to solve drainage issue; Unsure how to pay for it

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO/KJCT)-- Mesa County, the Town of Palisade, the cities of Grand Junction and Fruita, and the Grand Valley Drainage District (GVDD) came together to show a united front, and tell the community they’re committed to finding a solution. The problem is, they don't know what that solution is, or even how it'll be funded.

“It's going to require a significant effort to bring a solution together,” said Mesa County Commissioner Scott McInnis.

In June 2017, a judge decided the fee implemented by the GVDD on its customers was a tax, which means it has to be approved by voters.

"Just because the lawsuit's done doesn’t mean the drainage issues have gone away," said Duncan McArthur, Grand Junction City Council member.

The Drainage District has to pay that $7 million back to those who paid into it the first place.

“We're going to let bygones be bygones, and we're going to move forward," said Cody Davis, Chairman, GVDD.

One of those businesses that paid into the District was Mike Anton’s. He joined the suit, but has had a change of heart.

"Grand Valley Drainage District does need the money,” said Anton.

He decided to let the GVDD keep the $2,000 he paid into it.

"I felt that my money, as small as it is, will at least be enough to get that process going forward," said Anton.

The process he's talking about is creating a new agency, for the whole Valley, that will handle drainage. The agencies and municipalities don’t know how they will fund the new entity.

"Funding is the biggest issue, because if we don't have funding we've got nothing," said Davis.

With no solid plan, a good bet is that the money could come from voters, taxpayers. The group hopes to have a plan on the ballot and in place by November 2019. If their initiative does not pass, the GVDD will continue as it has.

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