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Company requests two million gallons of City water

by Larry Patrick
Representatives of APC Southern Asphalt of Golden, Colorado approached the Walsenburg Finance Committee on Monday night to request two million gallons of water at a reduced rate.  The company has a contract to do bridge and road work on I-25 this summer.
    The asphalt company would like to put their equipment on the old landfill site to make the asphalt but the land is not zoned for that need.  The City is asking the city attorney if the land can be used for a short time without the proper designation.  If not, APC can use some land on the new waste water treatment plant site for some of their equipment and put trailers on another piece of property to be in conformity.
    The firm will begin work in March at Exit 50 near Hwy 10 and work on I-25 south of that interchange, on both the north and south portions.  I-25 and the exits at Hwy 10 will remain open during the road work.
    APC Southern Asphalt says the going rate for water is $1.50 to $3 for 1,000 gallons.  Walsenburg’s rate breaks out to about $5 per 1,000 gallons.  That price is set by resolution.  Finance members asked about the possibility of getting some asphalt laid for about 1200 feet leading to the waste water treatment plant in return for a lower rate for water for the project.  Discussion was also made on helping provide asphalt for the turn lane the City needs to put in near the new grocery store.  Officials for the company said it would depend on timing and availability but they were open to negotiating something in exchange for water at a lower rate. They would need 40,000 gallons of water per day for approximately 50 days.  They would get it from the fire hydrant located near the site.
    Finance members wondered about the impact on city residents with the use of that much water. Interim administrator, Don Saling said the reservoirs were in good shape and that there should be no shortages to citizens resulting from this federal project. 
    APC Southern Asphalt will also maintain the gravel roads and repair any damage.  Their trucks will be hauling legal weights so they didn’t foresee any problems.
    The company will be hiring additional people locally as flaggers and road crew workers.  They currently have employees that work out of Walsenburg.  The spring and summertime project will bring business to Walsenburg motels, restaurants and other businesses which is a by-product of the project.
    The matter will be put on the next city council agenda on Feb. 1st for consideration.  The City should have more information at that time in making some decisions.
    The Walsenburg Finance Committee has also decided not to seek a rate study for utilities after getting indications that the costs for such a study could be in the tens of thousands of dollars.
    Interim Administrator Don Saling, told the finance committee that the main benefit of having a rate study in setting rates, is that you can defend your actions in court if necessary.
    Sewer rates have been adjusted over the past few years to meet the bond requirements for building the new waste water treatment plant. Water rates haven’t changed much and gas rates are usually determined by the cost of natural gas and transporting/storing it to provide service to citizens.
    Plans still call for hiking gas rates this winter by 25% to cover the costs of getting natural gas to the Walsenburg distribution point, which then supplies businesses and households.