Remembering Bob Trout — Greg Hobbs

Remembering Bob Trout
by Greg Hobbs

I was Bob’s colleague at Davis, Graham & Stubbs and Hobbs Trout & Raley from 1979 to 1996. Bob is one of our finest Coloradans.

When I joined the Colorado Supreme Court in 1996 and became the Justice assigned to the Civil Rules Committee, I recommended Bob’s appointment to the committee. The best of the best trial lawyers served on this committee. They knew Civil Procedure thoroughly – engaging in prolonged, detailed, scholarly and practical debates every time they considered recommending or not recommending an amendment to the Civil Rules. At that time there was no Water Court Committee. So, Bob, the only water attorney on the Civil Rules Committee – and since water court practice also involves the Rules of Evidence and Civil Procedure – through his active and intelligent participation crucially served everyone connected with water court practice and trial practice in general. I mean he held forth with the best of the civil practice attorneys, plaintiff and defense, corporate, the gamut!

I knew Bob would serve well on Civil Rules, for I had experienced his consummate skills as a trial attorney in the federal reserved water rights case involving the forest claims in Water Division No. 1, followed by the very complicated Thornton/Bijou case in which Bob carried a heavy load on behalf of the water users. Bob’s integrity, his calmness under fire (how did he do that!), his meticulous preparation of the facts and expert testimony for trial, and his excellent presentation to the courts both as a trial attorney and an appellate attorney — he exemplified for younger attorneys the traits of a master officer of the court.

Bob was kind, humble, straightforward, true and dedicated to his family. What a fine father to his son and daughter and husband to Jill. For the seventeen years we practiced together, I clearly saw that everyone who came in contact with him relied on his good judgement and his ability to draft all kinds of legal instruments – solving client problems practically with a great deal of equanimity. What a stellar person in all ways with staff, clients, attorneys, engineers, civic organizations and members of the public!

There’s a reason why Bennett and I coaxed Bob to accept the Managing Partner role when we established Hobbs, Trout & Raley in 1992. Competence! We became Hobbs & Trout soon thereafter when Senator Hank Brown asked Bennett to withdraw from the firm and go to Washington D.C. to help the Senator bring about the 1993 Colorado Wilderness Act. When Bennett returned, we became Hobbs, Trout & Raley once again. The firm became Trout & Raley when I joined the Supreme Court in May of 1996. The Northern District’s legal business never skipped a beat! The Board was very confident with Bob as its Principal Counsel. So much so, the District honored his energy and light by naming the hydropower plant on the southern water supply delivery pipeline below Carter Lake’s dam and spillway after him. Very few attorneys are ever honored by such a client in such a way.

When we look to Long’s Peak. When we see the Colorado Big-Thompson pipeline traversing the Great Divide from Long’s Peak to Carter Lake’s dam and spillway – delivering sterling water to the people, farms and businesses stretched out on the plains – we see Bob’s hand at work.

Southern Utes approve hefty rate increase for water, wastewater users — The Durango Herald

Photo credit: Ute Camp in Garden of the Gods – Library of Congress

From The Durango Herald (Shannon Mullane):

The Southern Ute Indian Tribe Utilities Division will raise water and wastewater rates by more than 90% and 50%, respectively, starting Oct. 1.

The Southern Ute Utilities Division, administered by the Southern Ute Growth Fund, provides both treated drinking water and wastewater treatment for the tribal campus, local tribal members living near Ignacio and the town of Ignacio. Discussions of rates have caused a rift between the town and the tribe, said Mark Garcia, interim town manager. While the town and the tribe analyze their agreement, ratepayers are stuck paying ever-increasing water and wastewater utility rates.

“Wastewater and water rates are based on usage, and they’re going up,” Garcia said. Utility customers will be hit with the increase at different times, based on their level of use for water and/or wastewater. But for overall water and wastewater rates, “all levels of users will see probably an increase in their rates starting in 2020,” he said.

Starting Oct. 1, ratepayers will pay higher base rates for fewer correlating gallons of water. Water rates will increase from $32.80 per 8,000 gallons to $47.80 per 6,000 gallons, a 94% increase. The rates will jump again Oct. 1, 2020, to $62.80 per 6,000 gallons, a 156% increase over current rates, according to a July letter to Garcia from the tribe.

The town charges customers additional fees for billing, repairs and collections. Garcia said the town’s water fees will increase from $24.60 to $26.48 a month starting Jan. 1, 2020, a 6.4% increase.

Wastewater rates will also increase. Service users currently pay $72.09 per ERT, or Equivalent Residential Tap, per month. One ERT allows for 7,500 gallons of usage.

That billing system will change. The tribal utility will charge the town based on winter usage, not ERT. This shift will also make ratepayers pay more for fewer gallons. On Oct. 1, the rate will increase to $87.09 per 6,000 gallons, a 51% increase over current rates. Wastewater rates will jump again in 2020. Users will be charged $102.09 per 6,000 gallons, a 77% increase over current rates.

The town charges an additional $9.88 base rate to users for billing, repairs and collections.

According to Garcia, the average town customer uses 4,000 gallons of wastewater per month, so ratepayers are paying for more wastewater than they are using.

“With the new rates and winter flow basis, the rates that the tribe charges the town as a bulk customer will actually go down from the current bulk rate charged,” the tribe wrote in a June news release.