How Glenwood Springs would use revenue generated from increased water rates
Plans to increase water rates over the next 10 years will also cover capital projects that Glenwood Springs has planned during that time, Public Works Director Matthew Langhorst said.
City officials are proposing to raise water rates an average of 36.8% per user on July 1, followed by 5% increases annually for the next nine years. That would generate $36 million.
For a resident who uses 2,000 gallons, their monthly water and wastewater bill is currently $85.41. With the water rate hike, their bill would increase by $18.71 per month.
“The annual operating costs for the Water and Wastewater Department in total is around $4.1 million dollars a year,” Langhorst said.
Annual operating costs include standard repairs to the plants, lift stations, tanks, pump stations, some line maintenance work, labor, chemicals and supplies, Langhorst said.
“The budget also includes water treatment plant bonds, depreciation, and $6.7 million dollars in projects in 2020,” Langhorst said.
“Most of those projects came in under budget and some of them were pushed to 2021 due to timing, COVID and other reasons. Revenue in 2020 was around $5.7 million dollars, so you can see that revenue covers annual costs, bonding, and depreciation, but that is about it.”
Langhorst said funds to cover capital projects are currently coming straight out of reserves, low interest loans and grants.
“Capital projects include the water treatment plant upgrades we are working on right now before we are impacted by 2021 spring runoff and the contaminants in our water due to the Grizzly Creek Fire,” Langhorst said.
Portions of both No Name Creek and Grizzly Creek drainages were burned during the fire. The drainages will experience three to 10 years of elevated sediment loading due to soil erosion in the watershed. Heavy rains or spring runoff along the burned area will wash ash and sediment into local waterways.
“It was also critical to get work done in our No Name tunnel that included sediment removal system upgrades before spring runoff. The Plant and No Name Tunnel improvements alone are near $3.6 million dollars, but will allow us to operate the plant at normal capacity for the summer even with higher sediment, carbon and organic loading from the burn area.”
The city also plans on starting construction on a new raw water pump line from the Roaring Fork Pump station up to the Red Mountain Water Plant later this summer.
“This is a drought resiliency and redundant water source project that will be nearly $4 million dollars,” Langhorst said.
Langhorst said the current street tax collects about$2.5 million for street maintenance and repairs through a 0.5% sales tax.
“The ask in 2019 was to increase this 0.5% sales tax to a 1.25% sales tax, which would have brought in approximately $6.25 million per year over the 20 year request,” Langhorst said.
“We spend approximately $1 million out of the street tax on maintenance and other fees, which would have left $5.25 million for 20 years, or $105 million to cover street, water and sewer infrastructure costs.”
The list of streets that the city is looking at for sewer or water repairs:
• 22nd Street
• West 13thStreet
• Walz Avenue
• West 11th Street
• West 12th Street
• Red Mountain Drive north and south
• Riverview Drive
• West 11th Place
• 21st Street
• West 1st Street
• West 9th Place
• West 10th Street
• Bennett Avenue from 23rd Street South
• Oriole Street
• Meadowlark Lane
• Cisar Court
• Blake Avenue Misc. Sections
• Garfield Avenue
• 12th Street, Maple Street
• 23rd Street
• 24th Street
• 26th Street
• Sunny Acres Road
• South Grand Avenue sewer
• 33rd Street
• 32nd Street
• Blake Court
• Cooper Court
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