Grand Lake officials vote to bump up water rates |

Grand Lake officials vote to bump up water rates

Tonya Bina
Grand Lake, CO Colorado

GRAND LAKE – Town trustees have voted against a water superintendent’s and treasurer’s recommendation to hold off on a scheduled 6 percent water-rate increase in 2011.

Because the Grand Lake Town Board voted against the proposal on March 14, water customers in the town of Grand Lake will pay a higher base rate starting April 1, an increase to $98 from $92 for up to 27,000 gallons of water allowance per quarter.

In a memo to the board of Trustees, Water Superintendent David Johnson and Town Treasurer Gay Dzinski floated the idea of skipping the 2011 rate increase to give consumers a break.

“Although we have seen some movement in terms of economic growth (development, property sales, etc.), we still feel that our customers are walking a fine financial line,” the memo states.

Johnson and Dzinski outlined the water fund’s healthy position, with a 2010 net of $64,989 due to “strict spending controls” on the part of the water department, and a Capital Improvement Plan reserve of $247,123, which exceeds projected numbers for the end of 2012.

But town board members opted instead to play it safe. Town Trustee Jim Peterson advocated staying on the rate schedule – established in 2008 to cover operating costs and build a water capital reserve until 2018 – in case the town finds itself “in need for a rainy day.”

“This is one place I don’t think we skimp,” he said.

Trustee Kathy Weydert voted to follow the established rate schedule to protect the town in case of unforeseen disaster. “What if something happened?” she asked.

Although Elmer Lanzi started out the discussion in support of skipping the rate increase – “People need a break, they need a break right now,” he said – he ultimately agreed to the rate increase as long as some funds were used to better market “the attributes of (the town’s) water.”

Since Grand Lake sits near the Rocky Mountain headwaters of the Colorado River, “It’s perhaps the best water in the world,” he said.

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