Pagosa Springs: Chasing dough to build wastewater treatment plant

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The new wastewater treatment plant for Pagosa Springs — originally scheduled for a 2008 completion — still lacks complete funding. Here’s a report from Jim McQuiggin writing for the Pagosa Sun. From the article:

Those discussions, in the form of a conference call held May 6 that included Starks, Pagosa Springs Mayor Ross Aragon, Town Manager David Mitchem and representatives from the Colorado Health Department, the USDA, the Department of Local Affairs, and the Water and Power Authority, kick-started the arduous process of chasing down necessary additional funding for the project. Although both the mayor and Mitchem reported the outcome of the call was “very productive,” both conceded the call was only a first step towards acquiring those funds.

Following up on the call, Aragon and Mitchem met with USDA representatives Tuesday morning to learn what steps would be needed to grab federal money.

“They want us to jump through hoops,” the mayor said, “but they have the money we need. There’s still a lot we have to discuss.”

Aragon reported that the USDA representatives brought up the possibility of a rate hike (one of several ideas) but said, “That’s not really an option, as far as I’m concerned. We’ve already gone up sixty-seven percent, and that’s much more than I wanted.”

The mayor also stated that, although the idea of scaling back the project was floated by the USDA representatives, the town would continue with the current scope of the project, adding, “We don’t want to build it and then find that, five years down the road, we need something bigger.”

No less sanguine regarding the conversation with the USDA representatives, Mitchem was nonetheless optimistic that the town could meet federal benchmarks set out by the USDA. “We’re going to move ahead with our preliminary plans,” he said, “We’re going to refine some of the engineering, review our current environmental studies and fine tune the flood plain mapping. We’re under a tight deadline from the feds. Everything has to be approved by Washington by October 1.”

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

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