Judith Scott: High water rates are eroding economic vitality of Hot Sulphur Springs
To the EditorI am writing this letter with regard to an article that I kept from your Dec. 1 edition of the Sky-Hi News entitled “Hot Sulphur Springs to Finalize 2011 Budget.” The article begins, “It’s not quite as exciting as last year’s with no line items carrying $2.5 million in federal grant money.” Well that is the understatement of the century. The grant money did wonders! A new water treatment system with awards no less, a renewed focus on town streets improvement ($60,000), a pedestrian bridge starting from the new water plant over the Colorado River to Pioneer Park ($232,000) and a sewer fund ($27,000) to meet state standards. The total amount of expenditure in the sewer fund budget are listed at $219,500; the total amount of expenditure in the water fund are listed as $281,700. The numbers don’t add up. Now we get an “important information” notice that explains we are now in violation of drinking water standards. Not to mention, what should we do? Not to mention they may contain disease causing organisms such as bacteria, viruses and parasites which can cause symptoms such as nausea, cramps, diarrhea and associated headaches. Well to the powers that be, the headaches have already begun. So, the Town Council (not all are guilty of this) goes merrily on it ways, the town businesses and residents are quickly going “belly up” by these brilliantly executed and well planned expenditures. In an already devastated economy, we have lost Mary Barnal’s (an outstanding business and town leader) 15-year business, our only convenience store and gas station, the historic Riverside Hotel, which was a town landmark that left the new owners financially devastated and in bankruptcy, the Stagecoach B & B and restaurant, not to mention our two remaining restaurants are struggling to keep their heads above water (or the price they have to pay for it). The Canyon and Ute Trail Motels are circling the drain with the help of the outrageous price of water, and although I cannot make a statement to the Hot Sulphur Springs Resorts financial situation, I imagine they are struggling as well. So sooner rather than later, our only business that will be able to accommodate overnight guests will be the jail which of course we pay for with our taxes. So I say “good job” for town planning! Now we can spend our money, not to mention gas, shopping in surrounding communities while all the years of hard work, sweat and tears by our own residents goes up in smoke. For all the ill-conceived, short sighted, future planning for our beloved town, we will now have nice streets that will not be used as we will not have any tourism to support them, a lovely pedestrian bridge but no pedestrians and, sadly, the loss of something so precious called community spirit. What do WE do or say to this horrific failure? How do we mend ruined businesses, lost income or those that teeter on losing their homes because they cannot pay their water bills not to mention who will be drawn to buy a home in a ghost town? How do you attract new businesses when they see that there is no possible means to profit from the local community? I am personally appalled by the magnitude of this disaster as I am SURE others are as well. Any comment HSS?Judith ScottHot Sulphur Springs
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After their soccer game Saturday, the Grand County Wildcats suited up for a very different type of game.