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Three water items to move to city council

by Eric Mullens
WALSENBURG — The Walsenburg Utility Committee reached consensus this week on a trio of items that are expected to come before the full city council Tuesday, March 6.
The committee discussed the current city resolution concerning the price of bulk water bought from the city for construction purposes. The current resolution mandates the minimum amount of water purchased for construction to be 1.75 million gallons for the buyer to be eligible for the bulk rate of $5 per 1,000 gallons.
Acting city administrator Beth Neece said Aguilar charges $20 per 1,000 gallons, Trinidad three cents per cubic foot (which equals $4 per 1,000 gallons), Fowler charges $6 per 1,000 gallons and La Junta and Rocky Ford both charge $2.50 per 1,000 gallons.
The committee members discussed the availability of water with water commissioner Doug Brgoch, who indicated the situation was better than many thought. “The supply is slightly over normal,” Brgoch said. “Even in the rough (drought) times like 2002 and even last year, Walsenburg fared well compared to other Front Range cities,” he said. Brgoch said the reservoirs the city draws water from are currently 66 to 70 percent full.
The committee reached an agreement saying the resolution should be rewritten to bring down the minimum purchase amount from 1.75 million gallons to 250,000.
Another resolution concerning establishing new water and sewer tap fee rate category should be before city council next week for a slight technical correction. The new item will correct a line in paragraph ‘c’ of the resolution replacing the phrase similarly sized sanitary sewer taps with similarly sized water taps. The proposed resolution, 2012-7, if passed will repeal and replace the current resolution 2011 R-27.
The committee also met with Dr. John Davis to discuss the City of Walsenburg leasing Davis the right for up to two acre-feet of water from the Coler Ditch and Reservoir System. Davis intends to use the water for livestock and irrigation purposes. The proposed lease will charge Davis a nominal fee of $10 for the initial period through Dec 31, 2012.
Item number 11 in the lease spells out at least one of those considerations saying, “Walsenburg may need to obtain an easement from Davis for a public wastewater main line and related facilities across Davis’ lands. If such an easement is needed, the parties will negotiate in good faith to agree on the location and compensation for such easement.”
That possible easement could be necessary to the Northlands project under the current best case scenario, the alternative three, which would see the sewer line avoid elevations and be built around the hills to the north of the community.