by Carol Dunn
CUCHARA- The Cucharas Sanitation and Water District Board met on Dec. 14 to approve its 2008 budget and get an update on the Pine Haven subdivision. Outside the windows, snow flurries glittered in the sunshine, looking just like a giant snow globe. Snow is precious to the residents of Cuchara, as all of their water is supplied by ground water sources.
The District’s 2008 budget and related resolutions were passed unanimously by the Board. Total budgeted expenditures will be $1,014,244 and revenues will be $1,089,341. The majority of revenues, about 86%, are from service fees and debt service, with property taxes bringing in $96,433 per year.
There was a short discussion about a small claims suit that has been in process against the District for about three years. Chair Leon Skaggs explained to the group that a change by Planning and Zoning in the subdivision plat resulted in the sewer line easement being moved, so the sewer line is now encroaching on the owners’ desired home site. The District is allowing its attorney to handle the case.
Bob Northup, General Manager, reported that all water lines are now in winter mode. He will be flushing and testing about a quarter of the fire hydrants in the next month, a task required by the ISO (Insurance Services Office) to keep the District’s insurance rates low.
The Board also heard an update on the roads and utilities in the Pine Haven subdivision, originally scheduled to be completed by Nov. 5, 2007. Representatives of GMS Consulting Engineers and Pate Construction were on hand to explain the way the project is advancing. According to Bill Pepper, Vice President of Pate Construction, the road base that was delivered and used had substantially more fines than what was ordered. A back-ordered pump also set the project back by several months. The Board members were all in agreement that the engineers and construction company had put forth quality efforts on the project. They voted unanimously to hold penalties – accruing at $750 per day – in abeyance until the project is finished. As a postscript to the discussion, Skaggs, who lives in Pine Haven and has observed the work in progress, complimented the skill of the Pate Construction workers and added, “all the crews worked together very well.”
Dan Brewer, Board secretary, expressed his appreciation for the employees of the Sanitation and Water District, and his sentiments were echoed by other Board members. “It is so helpful,” he said, “to have our staff available for public service in an emergency.”
The next meeting of the District will be Jan. 11, 2008. It is likely the Board is hoping it will be snowing for that meeting as well.