No hike in Minturn water fees |

No hike in Minturn water fees

Dustin Racioppi
Minturn, CO Colorado

MINTURN, Colorado “-For the first time in a long time, Minturn, Colorado residents won’t see an increase in their water fees this year.

The council decided Wednesday night that the annual 5 percent hike its imposed on residents the last few years didn’t seem fair for the upcoming year, and a reprieve on future increases seemed feasible.

“It’s 5 percent every year. That is very frustrating,” Councilwoman Shelley Bellm said. “It’s an arbitrary number. It’s the same number and same answer every year. We need to find other ways to get money into this fund.”

Mayor Pro Tem George Brodin said his reason for favoring the council’s decision to not raise the rate was because residents aren’t seeing any sort of return for their money. The increase each year merely maintains the status quo, he said.

“It’s not like, ‘Gee, the water tastes better this year,'” he said.

Mayor Hawkeye Flaherty said leftover budget funds from the last two years could help offset the difference and therefore allow the council to give residents a break.

He did say, however, that if needed, the council could raise the fee at anytime during the year. And the percentage could conceivably be more than the usual 5 percent depending on the circumstance, he added.

“This is not set in concrete,” he said. “We can change the rates at any point during the year.”

Frank Lorenti, a resident, business owner and admitted bete noire to the council, said he’d rather see a decrease in the water fee. He’ll take another year at the same rate, though, if that’s what the council offers, he said.

“I want it to be lower, not raised,” he said. “I think they’ve got too much money to not give something back.”

Lorenti said with generous donations from the Ginn Company, which intends to build a resort and golf course in town, there should be no reason to increase fees.

“For them to even consider raising the water rates is ridiculous,” he said.

You won’t hear John Knight complaining about his water bill. He said even though he’s come to expect the increase each year, it will be a bit of a welcomed relief to not see one.

“I’m not unhappy about it,” he said. “I’ve always had the idea that I’m going to pay to live up here and have all the opportunities the valley has.”

It’s worth it to him, he said, to pay a little extra to live in a quiet town where he can raise his children in a fairly safe setting, and one that is drastically different from his native Arkansas.

“These guys love it. They don’t live in a city with drive-bys and stuff like that,” Knight said. “I’m willing to pay a little bit to have that.”

In the meantime, the council has charged interim Town Manager Gary Suiter and Treasurer Jay Brunvand to scrutinize the town’s water costs and budget in order to determine how effectively money is being spent on the aging water system.

Dustin Racioppi can be reached at (970)748-2936 or

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