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Council goes back to the well for water ideas

by Eric Mullens
WALSENBURG — The Walsenburg City Council met in a work session Tuesday night to once again attempt to find a consensus among members concerning water / sewer rate increases.
Council discussed the issue and took comments and questions from an audience of approximately two dozen residents of the city and county. Equality in rates appears to be the goal of the city council as they recognize certain basic financial needs that must be met within the water and sewer enterprise funds.
The work session does not allow council members to vote on an issue. They will have to address the rate increase formally in a regular meeting, and that could come as early as next week. “Every day we delay, the city of Walsenburg loses money,” Mayor Larry Patrick said.
After an hour and three quarters, there appeared to be some agreement by council members concerning residential and commercial rates within the city limits; a pay as you use plan for water and sewer with base rates calculated to address the mandatory elements of (bond) debt service, repair and refurbishment of aging infrastructure and cost of production.
The overall meeting lasted about four hours and council discussed rates for the Spanish Peaks Mutual Water Association and off-the-wall water prices.
The plan the council seems to be leaning toward includes: residential and commercial in town water rates: $33.10 for debt service and infrastructure repair/refurbishment, plus $3.07 per 1,000 gallons of water used. In town sewer rates could be approved at: $32.22 for debt service and infrastructure; plus $5.26 per 1,000 gallons.
Outside residential and commercial rates may remain double the rate in-town users pay.
City council may address the issue via an ordinance at their November 6 regular meeting.