I am writing in support of Citizens for Healthy Rivers and the ballot measures being put to vote on May 6 by the Eagle River Water and Sanitation District. These ballot questions are being put to the voters as the result of needed improvements to the district’s wastewater treatments plants. The vote is less a question of whether or not the funds will be expended for the improvements, but rather an opportunity for customers to decide how they want to pay for them.
These improvements will further reduce the amount of harmful human generated nutrients which are discharged to our local streams, rivers and ultimately downstream to the Gulf of California. The accumulation of wastewater, and particularly nutrient, discharges from the continental divide to the gulf are affecting aquatic life in waterways and the gulf itself by depleting vital oxygen vital to aquatic life. A healthy aquatic life is a critical link in the chain of life. Like our streams, the Gulf of California supports a highly diverse aquatic population; the gulf is also a key mating and birthing location for a wide variety of whales. Today’s generations need to start to mitigate human impacts now so that our children and theirs can enjoy the awe of nature as we have. What we do here in the Vail Valley not only affects our quality of life, but the quality of all life downstream from us. That’s a big task and it’s not going to be cheap.
As a 17-year water treatment professional I believe not only in good water quality but also in smart financial decisions. Voting “yes” on Ballot Measure A has two significant financial benefits: it saves district ratepayers $1.8 million over the course of the 30-year bond (loan) and allows homeowners to claim credit for those expenses during tax season. The alternate option of paying as a service fee, which is the only other alternative under a “no” vote, doesn’t include either of these benefits — for 30 years. “Yes” On Ballot Measure A is the smart vote.
Voting “yes” again on Ballot Measure B allows the district, in the year after the bond, to continue to collect certain revenues — revenues like the $1.4 million state of Colorado grant secured in 2013, which offset funds that would otherwise need to be collected from customers for these very improvements.
Voting “yes” on Ballot Measure B doesn’t strip away the voters’ rights to vote on any new taxes, but does allow the district to obtain funds to help offset costs to its customers and reduce the magnitude of future bonds needed for ongoing wastewater treatment improvements. Voting “yes” on Ballot Measure B is the smart vote.
So vote “yes” twice on May 6; the fish, the whales, your grandchildren and your pocketbook will be grateful.