Granby declines to privatize west water service

The town decided against pursuing a proposal from Sun Communities to privatize the water service area in west Granby.

Earlier this month, Sun asked the Granby Board of Trustees to consider turning over the West Service Area to the company. The service area currently serves River Run RV Resort and Smith Creek Crossing, both properties of Sun.

Sun has built the water treatment facility for that area, initially planning to convey it over to Granby once completed. Following a rate study, Sun asked to privatize the operation in an effort to save on costs.

Staff asked the board Tuesday night if the town should pursue the proposal further. Most trustees were quick to express their disinclination to proceed.

Senior vice president of development for Sun, Bill Raffoul, tried to sway the board, arguing that a number of concerns raised by town staff memos would not be an issue. Raffoul insisted that Sun could reach an agreement with the town ensuring that water operations would be transparent and not for profit.

Trustees were unmoved, pointing out that many members of the public had reached out to them voicing their concerns about the proposal.

The trustees added that they were grateful for what Sun has brought to Granby and hope to keep a friendly relationship, but they could not justify moving forward with the privatization.

In other business:

• The police department came forward with a request to add an additional officer to the force. Granby police currently has a nine-person department including the vacant chief position, a code enforcement officer and a school resource officer.

Calls for service and criminal citations have doubled over the past four years, according to the town manager. Interim Chief Jonathan Stark described current operations as “treading water,” with the department already short due to the current vacancy and multiple officers soon going on parental leave.

The new position would be forward thinking, Stark added, as the soonest a new officer could be ready to go in the field would be September. If the officer has to go through the academy, it could take over a year.

This position has not been budgeted for and would cost about $100,000 including benefits. The town manager said money for this year would mostly come the police department’s budget, with a supplemental from town reserves possibly needed at the end of the year.

This would be the first unbudgeted item approved by the board this year. With Granby’s conservative budgeting and ample reserves, the manager did not see this as an issue. The town board approved the request for an additional patrol officer with Trustee Chris Michalowski dissenting.

• On a related note, the board continued discussions about hiring a new police chief. Stark has been serving as interim chief since January. Staff plans to advertise the position locally and around Colorado for the next month with hope of hiring a chief in two to three months.

• The board OK’d a release of claims related to certain roads at Granby Ranch. Owner GP Granby Holdings insisted on a term stating that the document would have no effect on the board’s conditional appointments of directors to the Headwaters Metropolitan District. While unrelated to the document at hand, the town’s attorney saw no risk in adding the term.

The attorney also mentioned two letters sent to the board Tuesday by legal representation of Headwaters demanding that the trustees rescind the conditional appointments of those directors. The board held an executive session to get legal advice on the matter and made no immediate decisions.

• Trustees approved the removal and replacement of the old building in Polhamus Park to not exceed the budgeted amount of $38,550.

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