Two sides staking out positions in $28 million Eagle’s water plant fight | VailDaily.com

Two sides staking out positions in $28 million Eagle’s water plant fight

This map from the town of Eagle shows the location of the proposed, $28 million Lower Basin Water Treatment Plant.

EAGLE — Most families fight about money, and with $28 million at stake for a new water treatment plant, Eagle's in for a battle.

The town says it needs a second water treatment plant. To pay for it, the town might double water rates over five years, and increase water tap fees by at least 15 percent. The town board is scheduled to talk about it during its meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 9, at 6 p.m. in Eagle Town Hall.

An opposition group calling itself Citizens for Transparent Growth says the town is going about it all wrong, that the town's process is adding to the costs of the plant, and that a new plant might not be needed for years.

"The people who guarantee the $28 million are the rate payers, not the federal government," said John Cook, a retired engineer who objects to the town's process.

The town says it is investing in water infrastructure, including future water needs.

Eagle says it's needed

Recommended Stories For You

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.

"The new treatment plant will serve the town for 20 years and beyond," the town said in a statement Friday afternoon, Jan. 5.

Open house scheduled

After the town board meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 9, the town is hosting an open house on Thursday, Jan. 18, to present its case for the new plant, as well as the 2018 fee increases that will pay for it. The open house will include summaries of all work so far.

"We encourage the community to join us for a casual open house with the opportunity to ask direct questions about proposed rates, conservation and treatment plant plan." said Tom Boni, Eagle's interim town manager.

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.

Boni said discussions about the plant construction actually began 10 years ago, when the town realized it was approaching capacity at its existing 4.3 million-gallons-per-day water plant during the summer months when residents water their lawns and landscaping. Usage during the summer brings the plant operations to 80 percent of capacity.

"This information affects all water account holders and we want to be transparent and help provide opportunities to participate and get informed," Boni said.

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

To speak your mind

Tuesday, Jan.9 — Board of Trustees, Eagle Town Hall

Thursday, Jan. 18 — Public Open House, Brush Creek Pavilion

Tuesday, Jan.23 — Board of Trustees, Eagle Town Hall

For more information, like the Town of Eagle on Facebook, sign up for Eagle Today, or visit townofeagle.org/waterplant.