Town of Granby to take over Moraine Park Water System
June 10, 2014
The Town of Granby will move forward with the replacement of the Moraine Park Water System after the former owner's estate was settled in court.
The town applied for a principal forgiveness loan from the Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority worth $700,000, which closed Tuesday, June 10, said Wally Baird, Granby town manager. The loan should cover the costs of design and construction of the new system.
Engineering and planning for the new system is about 70 percent complete, Baird said.
Residents of Moraine Park, an unincorporated neighborhood surrounded by the Town of Granby, have suffered from a number of issues with the community's privately-owned and antiquated water system for several years.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment had levied around $700,000 in fines against late owner Lew "Paul" Geisendorfer for violations regarding the system's maintenance and monitoring.
The town and county repeatedly approached Geisendorfer about transferring the system's water rights and management to Granby, though negotiations invariably fell through.
It wasn't until after Geisendorfer's passing in early 2013 the town began presenting Geisendorfer's widow, Norma Jean Long, with contracts detailing the transfer of water rights.
Under the new contract, the town will own 50 acre-feet of the system's water rights, with the rest belonging to the Geisendorfer's corporation, the Grand River Corporation. The town will also own and manage the water system.
"The people who live in Moraine Park will have the right to use the water that's generated," Baird said. "In other words it will be a system specifically for them."
As a result of the contract, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment will drop the fines it has imposed against Geisendorfer.
Baird said he estimated the cost of water for Moraine Park residents would decline from around $60 to around $40 a month.
"The way that we are required to structure the rates, we will be charging for the cost of production," Baird said. "We'll be putting some in an appreciation account for replacement and some for our costs. We're not going to really be making money."
The town has already invested around $100,000 in engineering and legal work regarding the replacement, Baird said.
"The town is not really gaining very much regarding value," Baird said. "The town board agreed to do it more as a goodwill type of gesture to get those people out of a bad fix. And the problem isn't the water itself. They have good water. It's the distribution system."
Once the engineering phase is completed, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment must approve the plans, which takes about six to eight weeks. Baird said the town plans to replace the system using new materials, with the system's elements located in the public right of way.
"When we get that portion of it completed, we'll be putting it out to bid, probably with construction starting, my best guess, in early spring of next year," Baird said.
Hank Shell can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19610.