Sewer line extension prompts amendments
The Three Lakes Water and Sanitation District (TLWSD) continued to work through a contentious sewer line extension project last Monday, Sept. 12, with the Board approving a resolution amending the District’s rules and regulations as they pertain to both the line extension reimbursement program and financing and fees for line extensions paid by District residents.
The resolution was taken up by the Board as a response to the previously expressed concerns of several District residents who are impacted by the line extension proposal. Those concerns related specifically to costs residents will have to pay to cover District fees associated with the line extension and other contracting costs such as excavation.
The sewer line extension proposal, called the Hillside Addition for the Pine Beach / Wild Acres Subdivision will extend an existing sewer main within the District. According to information on the TLWSD website the extension, “is expected to allow the District to provide public sewer services to 16 vacant lots (when they are someday developed) and 4 improved lots (currently served by individual septic tanks).” The District’s website goes on to state the action is, “consistent with the District’s mandate to provide public sanitary sewer services throughout the District.”
Gayle Langley, owner of one of four homes impacted by the Hillside Addition extension project, directly addressed the Board during the public comment period of the meeting. Langley informed the Board she was extremely concerned about the costs she and the owners of the other three homes impacted by the project will be required to bear. “It is not just putting in the main or tap, which is about $18,000 for me. It is the excavation.”
Langley informed the Board she has received bids from contractors totaling between $60,000 and $70,000 for the full scope of work she says she will be required to complete for compliance. “I cannot pay off that kind of money in four or five years,” Langley said. “And I don’t think most people in this county could.”
Her sentiments were echoed by Duane Dailey who said, “You just yanked the rug out on a number of people down on Pine Beach… It is unrealistic to do it on a five-year plan up here, with these prices, for working people.”
During the meeting last week the Board sought to address citizen concerns regarding the project by approving a pair of amendments to the District’s rules and regulations as they relate to the line extension reimbursement program and the time and financing stipulations surrounding the District fees for line extensions.
According to the TLWSD website existing homes impacted by the project will now have five-years to act before being formally required to connect to the line extension. The amended rules require the line extension fee, tap fee and permit fee to be paid prior to connection. The District has also set up a promissory note program for the purchase of taps by homeowners that would consists of quarterly payments made for four-years at an interest rate of one-percent above bank rates.
Additionally current homeowners impacted by the project will also have the option to apply for a temporary variance. The variance would be in lieu of opting into the District’s five-year agreement to connect program. If a temporary variance is granted homeowners will be required to pay the line extension fee upon approval of the variance through a Promissory Note and would be allowed to pay the line extension fee over a four-year time period. Vacant lot owners will be required to pay all District fees at the time they connect to the newly extended sewer main. The financing options for homeowners would only apply if the TLWSD itself finances the cost of a line extension. If a line extension has previously been paid in full by surrounding homeowners the District will not finance additional homeowner payments, citing a desire to insure other District homeowners are reimbursed for costs.
The TLWSD Chief Operator Mike Gibboni updated the Board on the status of the Hillside Addition project last week. According to Gibboni parts for the project have been ordered and the District expects delivery by Oct. 1. “We hope to have it in, in about three-weeks,” Gibboni said. We hope to have it done by the middle to the end of October.” Gibboni informed the Board the project is awaiting manhole covers, of which there is a dearth in supply currently in the state, but he hoped to have the manhole covers by the beginning of Oct. as well.
The Three Lakes Board recently awarded the bid on the Hillside Addition project to the contracting firm ATH Specialties of Granby with approval of a bid totaling $158,602.
According to the TLWSD website the District was created in by the Colorado State Legislature in 1971 and was charged with, “building a public sanitary sewer collection and treatment system to address ‘serious water quality problem’, in the three lakes area of Grand County”.
The District was first “activated” in 1982 and initially serviced only a portion of the properties within the District boundaries. Over the intervening years the TLWSD has extended sewer mains to provide service to other properties within the District.
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