#GlenwoodSprings council reviewing #water, sewer rate increases to meet infrastructure needs — The Glenwood Springs Post Independent

New plating at the Glenwood Springs water intake on Grizzly Creek was installed by the city to protect the system’s valve controls and screen before next spring’s snowmelt scours the Grizzly Creek burn zone and potentially clogs the creek with debris. (Provided by the City of Glenwood Springs)

From The Glenwood Springs Post Independent (John Stroud):

Some of the work related to Grizzly Creek Fire impacts

Infrastructure improvements associated with Glenwood Springs waterworks system brought on in part by last summer’s Grizzly Creek Fire will likely mean multiple years of increasing water and sewer rates for customers.

In 2020, the city conducted a water and wastewater rate study, which identified several “critical infrastructure needs” over the next 10 years totaling about $36 million.

City council has been reviewing and will decide on a recommended tiered water and wastewater rate increase over those 10 years. It expects to make a decision this spring.

Glenwood Springs Public Works Director Matthew Langhorst presented two rate increase options at a Jan. 21 City Council work session.

Option 1 would increase rates 26.2% this year, followed by 8% for three years, then 7% in 2025 and 5% from 2026 to 2030.

The second option has a higher initial rate increase for this year at 36.8%, followed by 5% for years 2022 through 2030…

Both options also include standard Consumer Price Index (CPI) adjustments annually after 2030. Historically, the CPI has ranged between 1% and 4%.

Langhorst also presented a comparison of what an average user’s monthly bill would look like under both options in year one, assuming different gallon usage.

The average user consuming 5,000 gallons of water currently has an estimated bill of $92. Under Option 1, that would increase to $113. Option 2 would be slightly higher at $122.

Langhorst said that 5,000 gallons of water is equivalent to what a medium-sized home with some landscaping would consume. “Compared regionally, the increased rates are in line with other jurisdictions,” he said.

Some of the identified capital projects are related to the Grizzly Creek Fire, which severely impacted the city’s main No Name and Grizzly Creek water supplies. Others are due to routine replacement of aging infrastructure…

Other capital needs include replacement or rehabilitation of equipment and additional storage capacity for firefighting capabilities, city officials said.

Glenwood Springs operates a municipal water supply system that supplies drinking water to more than 10,000 residents. The city obtains its drinking water from three surface water intakes in the Colorado River watershed…

The work session provided a preliminary overview of funding options. Council is tentatively set to review and make a decision about rates sometime this spring, and will also discuss a possible low-income assistance program, according to the city’s release.

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