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Ballot measures weigh on Cucharas District

by Carol Dunn

CUCHARA- At its October 8 meeting, the Board of the Cucharas Sanitation and Water District had a sobering discussion about its budget and how the future of CSWD could be affected by ballot questions on amendments 60 and 61 and proposition 101.  The Board accepted four versions of its proposed 2011 budget, contingent on the outcome of each measure.  At its next meeting, the Board will consider raising water fees $6 per month, regardless of the outcome of the measures.  Director Cal Sandbeck told the Board that he wants to look at reducing District payments for employee health insurance, and CSWD “may have to let someone go.”

    Bruce Cantrell reported to the Board that only about a dozen people indicated interest in joining an augmentation plan to make their ponds legal.  “With only 10 or 11 people, we won’t do the deal,” he said.  Since Cantrell originally required 30 participants, out of an estimated 80 illegal pond owners, to move forward with the plan, he said he would try to get an extension on the pending “cease and desist” orders that Water Commissioner Doug Brgoch is planning to issue by the end of October.  Three people have already indicated they plan to breach or fill in their ponds.

    General Manager Bob Northup told the Board that the resort water plant was shut down on September 30 for the season.  He said the waste plant biosolids will be applied to the Jameson fields in a week or so.  Northup is planning some work on the Britton reservoirs, including installing pipe into all the eroding open ditches around the reservoirs.  Northup reported that the GMS Engineering studies are still not ready.  “They are busy,” he said.  “They should be done soon.”  CSWD’s water attorney recommended the District follow progress of recently filed water court case 10CW61, in which Petroglyph Operating Company is trying to purchase a portion of the Coler Ditch.

    The Board certified to the County Treasurer $45,508.81 in accounts that have been delinquent for more than six months in 2010.  Included in that amount is $29,105.45 for the Cuchara Mountain Resort (CMR).  Cantrell agreed to sign a note receivable for CSWD and estimated that the amount would be paid by the end of 2010.  The Board voted to charge CMR half price on water/sewer fees for buildings A & B and the maintenance shop, retroactive two months.  Although the other five taps will not be in use during construction and renovation, they will be “mothballed” and charged an availability fee of $12.50 per month.

    The Board approved a bid from Pittsburgh Tank and Tower to do a robotic inspection of all the District’s water tanks, as recommended by the State Health Department.

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