Vote no on the dissolution of the Fraser Sanitation District
October 15, 2009
To the Editor:
Vote no on the dissolution of the Fraser Sanitation District.
Since circulating a petition in December 2008 to bring the issue of the dissolution of the Fraser Sanitation District to a vote of the people, one thing I learned is that I have been unable to find even one reason why dissolving the district and having the Town of Fraser take over its functions is of benefit to us constituents of the district.
Here are some of the reasons I recommend voting no to Initiated Measure 500 on the November mail ballot.
The Town of Fraser proposes to create a whole new department for operation of the plant and move the operation and maintenance of the sewer lines under public works. This would increase layers of government and be less efficient than the current lean operation. The Town proposes to increase the management fees of the Joint Facilities Operating Committee (JFOC). This could also affect the Grand County Water and Sewer #1 and Winter Park Ranch Districts. Our rates will go up either way, and I believe they will increase more under the town.
The Fraser Sanitation District mill levy would go away and that loss of revenue would have to be made up by increased fees or in some other way by us, the constituents.
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The Fraser Sanitation District has accumulated a fund of about $2 million for repairs, expansion and improvements to the sewer system. The Town would inherit this money. The money would become an enterprise fund and could be used to subsidize the Town water operation that operates at a loss, the shortfall presently coming from the Town’s General Fund. If there are monies left in an enterprise fund at the end of the year, they can be used to support another enterprise operation that is not self-sustaining. In the future when money would be needed for the intended purpose of sewer line repair, expansion or improvements, we the constituents, would be asked to contribute more money for our sewer service because the money previously earmarked for that no longer exists.
Dissolution of the district would bring loss of oversight of the quality of the lines and the present checks and balances the two entities provide. The policy of the district is to have an engineer they hire sign off on the quality of lines. The Town allows a representative of the developer to perform that function. Presently, there are some lines within the district that are substandard and the district has not agreed to accept. If the Town were to take over, these substandard lines could be included and we would than be responsible for work on them.
Let’s keep politics out of our sewer service. Presently, we have a board who is only concerned with overseeing the functions of the sanitation district. If the Town takes it over, the town trustees would provide that oversight. The Town has many other areas to oversee and would only be able to devote a relatively small amount time to sanitation issues.
Currently, property owners within the Town of Fraser who are not residents of the Town can vote in district elections (if they are registered to vote in Colorado). If the Town were to take over the district, only town residents could vote.
Help keep our expenses down, keep a system of checks and balances and keep politics out. Vote no for the dissolution for the Fraser Sanitation District, Initiated Measure 500 on the ballot.