Letter: South Service Water users weighted with unfair share
April 8, 2014
To the Editor:
I want to commend the Sky-HI News and reporter Leia Larson for continued focus on the proposed water treatment plant for Granby South Side Users.
In Friday's article it states that Granby Ranch pays its "fair share" for snowmaking, which is $25,000 per year for 20 percent of the district's annual water consumption. The Authority's 1,700 individual taps use 300 gallons per minute (gpm) in the summer and 150 gpm in the winter. Snowmaking for a few months in the winter increases the demand to 1,000 gpm. The new water plant is planned for 1,500 gpm. The snowmaking contract expires before the new water plant comes on line. Will Granby Ranch continue to use Authority water? The individual users will pay the additional cost to construct a 1,500 gpm capacity plant. This 1,500 gpm capacity determines the $8 million construction cost. Again, why not use untreated water for snowmaking and downsize the proposed water treatment plant?
The denial of the public's perception of "conflict of interest" clearly does not reflect public sentiment. Let's review: an Authority Board Member is also the president and CEO of SGM Engineering and has had a consulting contract with the Town of Granby and the Authority for years. When it came time to discuss an engineering contract and select an engineering firm for the new water plant, he excuses himself, leaving the room for the discussion and vote. When he returns, his firm has the contract. Does that not seems like a lack of due diligence on the part of the Authority? Maybe it was more difficult to ask for proposals from several engineering firms, but there was time. This process started last summer. And, to say that $84,000 has been paid to SGM is misleading. At the February public meeting, it was disclosed there was a $536,000 contract, but water rates were increased only $84,000 annually, which would not cover the contract cost. There seems to be a disconnect here.
Much work is still needed. If we include the capacity to provide treated water for snowmaking in the new water plant, the South Side Users will pay unless there are changes in current planning. The ultimate capacity and cost will be far greater than what South Side water users require.