With all the new taxes, including payroll taxes, increased Social Security deduction, health care cost increase and more now and in the future with Obamacare, the city of Rifle has put another burden upon us with a 61 percent increase in water rates and a 0.75 percent sales tax increase.
With all these new taxes kicking in, you would think the City Council would scale back the size of the water plant to accommodate the needs of the present population instead of somebody's prediction of Rifle's growing to a much larger population. It is just not feasible with the current and forecasted economy.
In the last census, the population of Garfield County fell by 3,000 residents. Also, the pressure on oil and gas companies by environmentalists is having its effect on gas drilling in Colorado, especially Garfield County.
Another reason for a person not buying a home in Rifle are the high water and sewer rates. In a survey made recently, it was found that Rifle's water rates are 50 percent higher than 10 towns within a 70-mile radius of Rifle, including Grand Junction and Fruita.
I would also interject that Glenwood built a new water and sewer system at a lower cost than that of Rifle's sewer plant and projected Water Plant.
Another town, Clifton, not included in the survey, is doing a $12 million to $15 million dollar upgrade to their water system and without a sales tax increase. Clifton's new rates compared to Rifle's new water rates are as follows:
Rifle: up to 2,000 gallons, $24; Clifton: up to 3,000 gallons, $20
Rifle: 2,001 to 4,000 gallons, $3.20 per thousand; Clifton: 3,001 to 10,000 gallons, $2.50 per thousand
Rifle: 4,0001 to 8,000 gallons, $3.40 per thousand; Clifton: 10,001 to 18,000 gallons, $3.35 per thousand
Rifle: 8,001 to 20,000 gallons, $4.00 per thousand
Rifle: 20,001 gallons and over, $4.80 per thousand; Clifton: 18,001 and over, $4.50 per thousand
I would think that maybe Rifle should have an outside consultant review the maintenance and operation costs of Rifle's water and sewer costs compared to surrounding cities, including Grand Junction, Fruita and Clifton.
Editor's note: Glenwood Springs completed a $22 million wastewater treatment plant in 2012, but did not build a new water treatment plant.
A headline in the Jan. 16 edition paper read, "River forecast: Living beyond our means; Colorado basin study predicts water demand could outrun supplies by 2020."
I don't know about you, but that is pretty concerning. What baffles me the most is that the Bureau of Land Management and some of our elected government officials continually allow oil fracking in our state.
If you have ever done any research on this, you would find that this process uses an unbelievable amount of this life line resource. We are talking millions of gallons of water per well. And how many wells do we have in this state? Do the math.
Gas isn't going to mean anything if we have no water. We need to really wake up and start stopping practices that use such consumption, or we will be piping water into our state instead of gas.