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Mancos trustees discuss water tap fees

Change worth $30,000 in revenue, Phillips says

Mancos town officials are considering changing the town’s water tap fee schedule.

Trustees discussed the issue at their Aug. 10 meeting.

Currently, the town allows holders of inactive water and sewer taps to pay $5 per month per tap. That price is less than the monthly minimum bill of $73 for both water and sewer taps, which applies to active taps. The minimum price includes for up to 7,000 gallons of water per month for water and sewer. For every 1,000 gallons over that, there is a charge of $2 per month.

The fee schedule hasn’t been changed since the 1990s, said Mancos Trustee Ed Hallam, who was a trustee when the previous changes were made. Trustees didn’t take a formal vote, but instructed town staff to prepare an ordinance that would raise the rates for inactive taps to the minimum fees. A draft ordinance should be presented at the board’s next meeting, on Aug. 24.

Trustee Lorraine Becker said it was time for the town to make the change.

“It might not be popular, but looking at it from the perspective of fairness to the town, it’s overdue,” she said.

Raising the rate could take place in stages over multiple years, so rate-payers aren’t hit with a sudden increase, Becker said.

Town Administrator Andrea Phillips said changing the fees could bring up to an additional $30,000 in revenue for the town in the enterprise fund. There is still a cost to the town to run water treatment plants and provide water even though there are a number of inactive taps in town, she said.

Trustee Craig Benally said that increasing the fee will help the town move forward.

“We have a lot of projects and we ask a lot of our staff,” Benally said. “We need to start thinking about how to pay for that.”

Phillips announced that the town was awarded an $118,000 Energy and Mineral Impact Assistance grant to install a pedestrian crossing at U.S. Highway 160 and Beech Street. Trustees voted to authorize Mayor Queenie Barz to sign a contract with the Colorado Department of Transportation to complete the project.

Phillips said the town hopes to start work on the crossing in the fall and complete it by the end of the year. The total cost for the project is about $260,000, she said. About $75,000 will be funded through another CDOT grant that was awarded last year, and the town will be responsible for paying $60,000, she said. Some of that is budgeted, but about $12,000 will need to come from the town reserve fund, Phillips said. The previous board of trustees approved using reserve funds at their meeting March 23, she said.

The crosswalk project is part of a larger vision to improve the stretch of Highway 160 that goes through town, which includes increased access to businesses and lower speed limits.

Also at the meeting, Trustees approved a special-use permit for a cottage industry at 849 Riverside Drive. The business will be Solutions Eco Friendly Hair Design Salon.

Board members awarded a contract to engineering firm SGM for engineering and design work as part of a project to upgrade the town’s water system. The pressure relief valve station that feeds the town water supply will be rebuilt and upgraded and old waterlines in the southeast section of Mancos will be replaced. Additionally, the sedimentation ponds, piping and some other equipment at the river diversion station will be improved and replaced.

SGM bid $55,723 for the services, which was about $2,000 higher than the lowest of five bids received for the service, Phillips said. Town staff have worked with SGM before to complete a town asset inventory, and Phillips said the firm has knowledge of the town. The bid includes up to $7,000 in potential additional engineering options, according to town documents.

Total cost budgeted in 2016 and 2017 for the water system upgrades is $530,649, but $426,194 is being reimbursed from three different grants, according to town documents.

Trustees awarded a contract of $7,100 to Top Line Installers for roofing work on Town Hall. The contract is for patching work to prevent water leaks in the roof, but trustees said at some point they will need to start setting aside money to completely replace the roof.

Trustees approved a reimbursement not to exceed $1,000 to the Mancos Inn for improvements as part of the town’s Facade Improvement Grant program. The Inn will be adding two new signs, one at the front of the building and another mounted on the wall.