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Cortez Sanitation District considers lowering hotel and RV fees

Board hopes to hold public hearing this summer
Cortez Sanitation District President Ryan Griglak, left, swears in David Marlman as a new director.

The Cortez Sanitation District might lower plant investment fees for hotels and recreational vehicle parks this year.

For several months, district manager Jan Nelson has researched the cost of connecting a nonresidential property to the city’s sewer system, with some arguing the current hotel and RV fees are too high. During the sanitation district’s monthly meeting on Monday, she presented the results from a study by SGM Engineering that looked at fees in several Colorado towns with a similar population to Cortez. Although most members of the board of directors board members agreed the district should hold a public hearing on the issue this summer, they decided to postpone scheduling the hearing until next month in order to come up with a suggested change in fees.

Right now, it costs $4,770 to connect the first room of a hotel to the Cortez sewer system, the same price as a residential home or a commercial property, although the price goes down with additional units. RV parks follow the same pricing, charging $4,770 for the first unit and $2,500 for each additional one.

Nelson said she believes the high plant investment fees are part of the reason few new hotels have moved into the Cortez area recently. Several other board members agreed.

“They’re going elsewhere right now,” Jim Candelaria said.

But Ernest Maness said he had never heard sewer rates brought up in a discussion about the costs involved in starting a new hotel in Cortez, and he believed other factors were more to blame.

President Ryan Griglak said the board’s study of other town practices came up with a wide variety of fees, some of which wouldn’t make sense in Cortez. Nelson said based on the research, it seemed reasonable to charge 30 percent of the residential fee for a hotel unit. But other board members, including Griglak, weren’t sure that would cover the cost of a connection. Nelson said the board should work toward the solution that would “make sense for the majority” of customers.

“One thing I’ve found in the industry is that it’s always going to be unfair to some,” she said.

The board of directors also agreed to look more closely at the study results and discuss them again at their next meeting, when they plan to possibly schedule a public hearing.

David Marlman was sworn in Monday to replace Micah Mobley, who announced his resignation in April. The position had been vacant for about a month.

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