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Cuchara Valley Lodge will be razed

by Carol Dunn
CUCHARA- At its October 14 meeting, the Cucharas Sanitation & Water District Board had a discussion with Ron Peterson, half-owner of the Cuchara Valley Lodge, about the water tap and eleven EQRs. Peterson told the board, “We have no intentions to run that hotel. We’re going to demo that out.” He said that some of the furnishings and equipment are salvageable. Peterson and his partner might deed the property over to the River Run subdivision homeowners association, and their primary objective is to clean up the property to help market the subdivision lots. The board discussed giving the new owners a retroactive, two-year, 66% reduction in the water/sewer billing, which is running $624 per month. Official action on the matter will take place at next month’s board meeting.
General Manager Bob Northup reported that the work on the Spanish Peaks sewer line is at a standstill until the final easement is obtained from a landowner living out-of-state. The anticipated completion date is at the end of October. Because the moisture level in the soil is so low, he cautioned that there may be settling problems, since good compaction may not be achieved. Northup said the previous week was the “week of water leaks.” A leak at the ski resort booster station took a day to repair. There were also leaks in a service line in Pine Haven and at the ski resort fire house.
Northup had disappointing news on the Britton Pond work. Apparently the US Forest Service still has not issued the required permit so CSWD can work on the pond’s inlet ditches. With USFS estimating it would be a couple more weeks before they could get to the permit, Northup said, “there’s no way we’re going to make it to the Britton Reservoirs before the snow flies. Maybe we can get to it in the spring.”
The CSWD staff will lower the pump in the well which went dry late in the summer. Northup told the Board that should allow the well to be usable through the winter.
The pond augmentation plan is functioning as anticipated, with the District collecting about $1,000 per month in fees. According to board chair Gerald Van Nort, when costs are compared with receipts, the district basically broke even in the endeavor.
The district voted to certify its delinquent water/sewer accounts to the county treasurer’s office. The delinquent amounts will be added to the respective property owners’ tax bills. “We have used this in the past to collect these,” said Van Nort. Director Bob White mentioned that three of the accounts are for properties that are being foreclosed upon. White asked, “If this doesn’t get filed before the foreclosure, where do we stand?” No one had an answer to that question.
White, the Treasurer, provided a draft 2012 budget for the board to review. Director Cal Sandbeck requested that the Board hold a special workshop on the budget. “I just want to make sure we’re all on the same page,” he said. When asked about his position on the budget, Sandbeck said he wants to keep the district profitable, including reducing the staff if that is necessary. He noted that the staff are requesting raises again in 2012 and said, “There are several things on here that trouble me.” director Jim Howard brought up issues of personnel decision liability, as well as board member insurance exposure, and directed his comments to Sandbeck, who then departed the meeting abruptly, shortly before it adjourned.

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