Kremmling: Infrastructure needs updating
It’s time to start planning for a little spring cleaning. I know it’s barely autumn, but planning early is always a good thing.
The town of Kremmling is facing some serious infrastructure problems. Many of us can see the condition of asphalt streets around town and realize something needs to be done. What we can’t see are the aging water transmission lines that are under those streets.
The main water lines in town were installed many years ago. They have a finite life cycle. In some cases, the expected life of those lines has passed.
There are some sections of line that are barely holding together. It is senseless to blame the current regime of town officials and staff members because this is a problem that has developed over many years. In short, the current generation is going to have the pay the price tag for the failure of previous generations to set aside money for the eventual price of replacing the water lines.
And, realistically, very few people from that era could have ever imagined what it would cost to replace the water system today.
The town has taken a fairly aggressive approach to replacing some of those lines. However, many of the lines are of the same vintage and heading for a failure at about the same age.
There are few things that can bring a population center to its knees more quickly than massive failure of its water system. We don’t have many individual wells anymore, and few of us have the appetite to go to a water source to get water on a daily basis. Of the many things we take for granted, water at the twist of the tap may be near the top of the list.
The answer to fixing the water system is simple ” it just takes money. The cost will be very expensive. Even if the town committed its entire budget to nothing more than fixing the water line (a very impractical suggestion) it wouldn’t be enough to make the necessary repairs in an appropriate timeframe.
Some money could be obtained via the grant cycle and a bit could be allocated in each year’s budget. However, the quickest way to obtain the money is that all-American approach ” take out a loan.
The most obvious way to pay for that loan is with a bond issue, and that would have to be paid for by the residents in Kremmling. It will be a major commitment. This is not a novel idea, it has been preliminarily discussed by the Town Council.
Here is what I would like to see: Develop a realistic cost for doing the job. I would also like to include the costs associated with repaving the streets after the water lines are replaced. Package that information into a bond payment plan and then let me make a decision.
As a taxpayer, I can then look at the potential sales tax plan by the hospital district, which may replace the existing property tax district. I can also look at the proposal for the recreation district to make an informed decision at the polling place.
There is a tendency on the part of government officials to try to slip a tax question on a ballot before people know about another pending question. First of all, people are generally better informed than we are ready to acknowledge. I believe you gain more in the long run by presenting all of the information at the very outset.
I believe the water infrastructure is vital to Kremmling’s long-term health. Without a good supply of water, most other things will come to a halt. Fixing the streets and the drainage at the same time is probably the most economical approach.
My suggestion would be to present a plan to repair the water lines and the streets to the public at the next election. The sooner we have that information, the quicker we can start to mull over the options and make informed choices at the ballot box.
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