From The Cortez Journal (Jim Mimiaga):
The Dolores Town Board [March 9, 2020] raised rates for water and sewer services, increased funding for the farmers market, and preliminarily approved property transactions and a solar project.
Beginning May 1, the water rate will increase by $5 per month, to $30.84 per month, a 19.3% increase. The sewer rate will rise $2.25, to $30.91, a 7.8 percent increase. Rates were last increased in 2015, 2009 and 2006.
The board and town staff said increases are needed to fund rising maintenance costs and system upgrades to the 50-year old infrastructure. It passed by a 6-0 vote.
The increase will help finance a $650,000 project to replace deteriorating water lines beneath Colorado Highway 145. Nine deteriorating lines need to be replaced before the Colorado Department of Transportation repaves the highway in 2021.
To help pay for the project, the town has applied for a $292,630 grant from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs. To cover the 100% grant match, the town would pull from reserves and take out a 4% interest loan, with payments covered by the monthly $5 water rate increase. Revenues from the increases will also help build water and sewer budget reserves for future maintenance and improvements.
The town board created a task force to research a potential tiered water use billing system that would incentivise water savings.