Eagle moves toward water rate increase, surcharge to pay for the new water plant | VailDaily.com

Eagle moves toward water rate increase, surcharge to pay for the new water plant

This map from the town of Eagle shows the location of the proposed, $28 million Lower Basin Water Treatment Plant.
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The town will host a public input session Tuesday, April 10, during the next town board meeting. The board is expected to make its final vote on the plan during that meeting. For more information, go to http://www.townofeagle.org.

EAGLE — You’ll pay more for water in Eagle, and the more you use, the more you’ll pay.

The town board at its Tuesday, March 27, meeting moved toward part of a water rate increase package, necessary to pay for a proposed water treatment plant, now projected to cost $29 million.

The bill will be split among all 3,100 housing units in Eagle. That includes units in multi-family projects, which should spread the payments more equitably, said Brandi Reitter, Eagle town manager.

The package will likely include:

• $12.50 variable monthly surcharge for all customers. That surcharge will sunset when the plant is paid off, about 20 years.

• 3 percent annual increase in water rates, will likely start with the July billing cycle.

• A tiered payment plan will be part of this: The more water you use, the higher your per-gallon rate will be. The town board will hammer out how that tiered system will work.

Conservation counts

Water conservation also will be part of the equation. The town has already replaced much of its leaky water pipe system, and plugging those holes saved around 20 percent, said Brandy Reitter, Eagle town manager.

The plan sets the aggressive goal of cutting water use by an additional 5 percent over five years.

The town’s water use in its parks is down 3 percent in the last three years, but hitting 5 percent could be a big challenge, said Byron McGinnis, public works director.

Why a second plant

The town says it needs a second water treatment plant and will borrow up to $19 million to pay for it, but not more. The town says it is investing in water infrastructure, including future water needs.

The idea for the proposed plant has been kicking around since 2007. It was pushed to the back burner when the economy tanked and construction ground to a halt. The initial design was finally completed in 2012.

The town says it needs another water source, beyond the current plant. The new plant is designed to accommodate expansion, if needed. It would be built east of the existing wastewater treatment plant at the confluence of Brush Creek and the Eagle River.

Eagle’s current plant can generate 4.3 million gallons of water per day. It runs at around 80 percent capacity during the peak summer lawn irrigation season.

The new plant would generate up to 2.5 million gallons of water per day.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vaildaily.com.

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