Pardee tops McDevitt; Vail water bond passes

Cliff Thompson

Newcomer Larry Pardee beat incumbent Mac McDevitt by almost 100 votes for a four-year term representing Avon on the Eagle River Water and Sanitation District board.

McDevitt, 64, who is also an Avon town councilman, had served two years as an appointee after redistricting created a new board position for Avon.

Residents also voted overwhelmingly in favor of using bonds, rather than a water rate increase, to fund $9.3 million in water system maintenance and water acquisition for the Vail area. With passage of the bond, annual property taxes for the owner of a $500,000 home in Vail will go up by approximately $55.

“I voted for the property tax so absentee homeowners can share the expense,” said voter Joel Fritz.

Voter turnout – 575 ballots were cast – was somewhat lighter than previous water district elections. Unopposed board members Bobby Warner and David Viele were elected to four-year terms.

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“I’m ecstatic,” said Pardee, 43, who is the town of Vail’s Public Works, Streets and Maintenance manager. “I’m going to do what I set out to do – I’ll get involved in the community and try and serve the community.

“I don’t have any ax to grind,” he added. “I want to serve and to help. I look forward to the challenge.”

Jim Viele’s sentiments after voting Tuesday reflected the outcome. He’s a former water and sanitation district board member and the father of re-elected incumbent David Viele.

“I voted for the bond increase,” he said. “It spreads things a little more evenly.”

Viele also voted for Pardee.

“He has lots of experience and works very hard,” he said.

Voter Susan Pollack said she opposed the bond increase.

“I went for the rate increase,” she said. “It’s better than revenue bond. I have more control over the water I use.”

But she, too, supported Pardee.

The bond issue will be used to replace aging and brittle cast-iron water mains throughout Vail. It’s the first step in what will be a multi-decade, $30 million program.

Part of the money will be used to acquire water and to expand the Black Lakes reservoir atop Vail Pass and the Eagle Park reservoir east of Camp Hale. Both supply water to the upper valley in winter.

That storage, an additional 125 acre-feet at Black Lakes and approximately 500 acre-feet at Eagle Park, will cost $1.1 million. The dam and spillway at Black Lakes will be raised about a foot, while a pump will be installed to push approximately 500 acre-feet from the East Fork of the Eagle River into Eagle Park.

An acre-foot can supply the water needs of a family of four for a year; it covers an area the size of a football field approximately a foot deep.

A portion of the money will be used to acquire 1,250 acre-feet from the Flat Tops Ranch near Toponas in southern Routt County. The district also wants $2 million to build a water tower in West Vail to help boost water pressure for fire protection.

The Eagle River Water and Sanitation District supplies water to the Vail area and sewer service to 22,000 residents in the eastern half of Eagle County.

Board members represent a district but are elected at-large. The Vail bond issue covered only the Vail portion of the district.

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

Water votes

Eagle River Water and Sanitation board

Larry Pardee – 336

Mac McDevitt – 239

Property tax increase

Yes – 282

No – 93

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