Cedaredge eyes options in water plant dispute

By Hank Lohmeyer

The Cedaredge Town Board held a special meeting on July 14 in order to call an executive session for discussion of settlement terms in a water treatment plant ownership dispute.

According to Town Administrator Katie Sickles addressing trustees at the beginning of the special meeting, mediation between the town and Upper Surface Creek Domestic Water User's Association (USC) have resulted in two options for the town:

• Compensate USC $175,000 by the end of 2016 for its 20 percent ownership claim to the town's water collection infrastructure and treatment plant;

• Or, compensate USC $210,000 divided into regular installment payments over a period of 17.5 years.

If trustees decide to take the first option, it would require an adjustment to the town's 2016 budget and deciding how to raise $175,000 from "loans, transfers, or water revenue bonds to be in place by Dec. 31," according to a proposed resolution.

The USC claim to ownership of town water facilities dates back to a previous agreement between the two water providers when USC purchased its treated water in bulk from the town. Since that time, USC has built its own water treatment plant and no longer uses treated water supplied by the town on a regular basis.

The Cedaredge trustees recessed to an executive session lasting about half an hour to discuss their options. The matter was placed on the board's regular July 21 meeting agenda for likely action.

In other business, the Cedaredge Town Board dealt with the following matters:

• Trustees received an update report from staff and board members of the Surface Creek Senior Citizens. Items discussed were new appliances for the Civic Center kitchen and a facilities use agreement for the noontime hot meals program. Addressing the trustees were Dennis Meisinger and Carolyn Goller of the seniors' organization. During their special meeting, the town board approved a facilities use agreement for the next year.

• Trustees also approved a new arrangement which will place the police department's code enforcement/animal control officer on full-time employment status. Town staff said that with adjustments to the budget and by moving funds from one use to another they will be able to provide the "almost $9,000" additional salary to pay the extra three hours per day the officer will be working.