‘Either/or’ election for Vail water users | VailDaily.com

‘Either/or’ election for Vail water users

Cliff Thompson

If you’re a Vail resident, you’ll have to choose which medicine you wish to take to resolve a badly-needed $9.3 million waterline replacement and other water projects.

You’ll have to choose whether you want to pay for the upgrade with higher property taxes or increased water rates. The proposal will be the subject of a May 4 election.

It’s actually an “either/or” ballot question for voters because a “no” vote on the property tax increase means you’ll pay higher water rates.

The property tax increases will cost the owner of a home valued at $500,000 an additional $55.50 per year while the water rate increase will cost the owner of a an average residence of 3,000 square feet or less an additional $67.32 per year.

The money generated will be used by Eagle River Water and Sanitation, which serves Vail, to pay off revenue bonds for the waterline replacement.

Many of Vail’s 30-year-old water mains are made of brittle cast-iron and several have broken, requiring costly on-the-spot repairs. The water district wants to replace them with new, stronger steel pipes that are more durable. That’s expected to cost $4.2 million.

The property tax/rate increase question is part of more than $30 million in waterline replacement the district will need to undertake over the next two decades.

A portion of the financing – $ 2 million – will be used to build a 2-million gallon water tank in West Vail that will provide water storage for fires and other emergencies.

The remaining money will be used for a trio of projects that will supply more water. The spillway of the Black Lakes reservoirs atop Vail Pass will be raised, which will increase their 300 acre-foot capacity to 425. The remainder of the money will fund a pump system in the East Fork of the Eagle River east of Camp Hale, that will boost the capacity of nearby Eagle Park Reservoir by 450 acre-feet.

The final acquisition is 1,250 acre-feet from the Flat Tops Ranch in southern Routt County near Toponas. That water has historically been diverted to ranches on the Colorado River side of the hydrologic divide between the Colorado and Yampa Rivers.

To be eligible to vote on this issue May 4 you must be a resident of the Vail water sub-district and have registered to vote in the general election or have paid taxes on property receiving water supplied by the water district.

You’ll also have to decide who you want to represent you on the water board. The only contested seat represents Avon. Incumbent Mac McDevitt and Larry Pardee are vying for the post.

Cliff Thompson can be reached via e-mail at: cthompson@vaildaily.com or by calling 949-0555 ext. 450.

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