Paonia continues to refine water, sewer ordinances

By Tamie Meck


Paonia trustees are leaning toward continuing a moratorium on sales of out-of-town water taps until a proposed rate study is completed sometime in 2016 and in light of problems associated with the town's aging water delivery and distribution systems. The town had anticipated lifting the moratorium, established in 2007, once storage could be increased as part of the recent water systems upgrades project. Due to numerous factors, that part of the project was put on hold.

The town's water ordinance currently limits the town to the sale of eight out-of-town taps per year. Proposed changes to the ordinance ahead of passage of the 2016 budget would reinstate the moratorium and maintain sales of up to five taps per calendar year, available on a first-come, first-served basis to private water companies currently serviced by the town. Those applications must be approved by the town board of trustees on a case-by-case basis, with cost determined by the size of the service line.

Under proposed changes, cost of taps sold to water companies will range from $15,000 for a three-quarter-inch line to $750,000 for an eight-inch water main. Water companies wanting to increase the size of their service line would be charged the difference between the cost of the existing water line and the new line.

In-town applications, "stand-by" accounts, water companies and properties being annexed into the town would not be affected by the moratorium. No limit is being proposed on the number of in-town water taps that can be sold. Cost of a residential tap will remain at $6,000. In-town commercial tap fees range from $6,000 to $156,200, depending on the required size of the service line.

The proposed 28 percent increase in base rates for all water accounts -- in-town and out-of-town residential and commercial -- and proposed increases in volume charges, based on a cost-per-thousand-gallons basis, will go into effect upon approval of the board of trustees. Trustees are voting next week only to approve increases in water tap, base rate and volume fees, with the entire ordinance and its other revisions to be discussed and adopted at a later date.

Monthly wastewater/sewer service charges within the town are anticipated to increase from $26 to $31 per unit, while out of town fees are proposed to increase from $44 to $50 per unit.

If approved, the town's trash collection fees will increase by $4 per month for all accounts. A proposal of $3 per month was increased to $4 after Delta County announced it would increase its tipping fees from $25 to $28 per ton.

Proposed ordinances are posted on the town website.