Eagle OKs new $26.7 million water treatment plant and fee structure to pay for it | VailDaily.com

Eagle OKs new $26.7 million water treatment plant and fee structure to pay for it

Eagle's proposed water rate increases will get one more public hearing during Tuesday's town board meeting.

EAGLE — Eagle's second water treatment plant should crank up in two years, and the town board approved a plan to pay for it.

For almost two decades, Eagle has been kicking around the idea for a second water treatment plant. In the Tuesday, April 10, meeting, the town board was unanimous in approving:

• $26,705,796: Total project cost

• $23,424,732: Guaranteed maximum price of the plant itself.

“I think we just bought a water treatment plant. It has been a long path to get here. Thanks to everyone who helped.”Anne McKibbinEagle mayor

• A rate structure to pay for it. Basically, the more water you use, the higher your rates will be.

The town will borrow up to $19 million. The rest would be covered by around $10 million that the town has saved in a special fund.

The fee plan adds a commercial rate. Like residential users, they'll pay $1.50 for their first 6,000 gallons. After 6,000 gallons, commercial users will pay $6.62 for every 1,000 gallons.

"I think we just bought a water treatment plant," Mayor Anne McKibbin said after the board unanimously approved the price plan. "It has been a long path to get here. Thanks to everyone who helped."

Cost savings

Tuesday's approval included a reduction in the plant's maximum price.

By hammering on some subcontractors and other cost-saving measures, the engineering company running the project saved the town almost $650,000 between October and Tuesday's approval.

The town saved itself more than $100,000 on Tuesday by waiving many of the fees it would normally charge for a project of this size.

"I think we saved a significant amount of money," Eagle Town Board member Scott Turnipseed said.

Why a second plant

Eagle's current plant 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.

The Lower Basin Water Treatment Plant project will be located at the confluence of Brush Creek and the Eagle River, near Eagle's existing water treatment plant.

"It has been an impressive process," Eagle Town Board member Kevin Brubeck said.

Conservation counts

Along with the fee structure, the plan sets an aggressive goal of cutting water use by 5 percent over five years.

The town's water use in its parks is down 3 percent in the last three years, said Byron McGinnis, the town's public works director.

The town replaced much of its leaky water pipe system, and plugging those holes saved around 20 percent, said Brandy Reitter, Eagle town manager.

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The bill will be split among 3,100 housing units.

That includes units in multifamily projects, which should spread the payments more equitably, Reitter said.

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

What it will cost

$26,705,796: Total project cost

$23,424,732: Guaranteed maximum price of the plant itself

$647,349: less than the projected cost last October

$100,000: The amount of fees that water users will not pay, because the town board waived them

$19 million: Maximum amount Eagle will borrow to build the plant

$10 million: Amount Eagle has saved in a special fund to help pay for this

How they’ll pay for it

3,100: Number of rate payers who’ll split the cost. That includes multi-family projects.

$12.50: variable monthly surcharge for all account holders. That surcharge will sunset when the plant is paid off in about 22 years.

3 percent: Annual increase in water rates starting in 2020. That’s the average inflation rate for the past several years.

Tiered payment structure: The more water you use, the more you’ll pay per gallon.

July: The new rates will likely be applied to the July billing cycle.

Two years: Projected construction time.

View the Final Surcharge and Water Rate Increases presentation.