Voters in the La Plata-Archuleta Water District, who formed the entity three ago but didnt approve a funding mill levy until 18 months later, today will vote on whether to go into debt to buy the hardware for treatment and distribution of potable water.
Ballot Issue 5A asks for up to $25 million for a water-treatment plant, storage tanks, buildings, pumps, meters, software, communication and water-quality monitoring equipment and personnel expenses.
The cost of repayment would be about $45.4 million at a interest rate not to exceed 6.5 percent. The current 5-mill levy would not be increased, and no new tax would be required.
We dont know how the election will go, Steve Harris, the districts consulting water engineer, said Monday. We havent heard anything strongly pro or con.
Harris said the district has a contract with the Pine Ridge Irrigation District for 200 acre-feet of water a year from Vallecito Reservoir, the same source of most of Bayfields water.
An acre-foot covers a football field with 1 foot of water.
Our first choice is to use our income to expand the Bayfield water plant, Harris said. Were in the middle of negotiations with the city.
The water district will serve the southeastern corner of La Plata County first and later the southwestern corner of Archuleta County. By reason of proximity to the treatment plant, the first area to receive water would be south on County Road 509 and west on County Road 510, Harris said.
Nothing is settled, but tentatively, the cost of a tap will be about $5,500, Harris said. A decision wont be made until spring, he said.
The district wants to hear from potential water users about the topic, Harris said. Two public workshops have been held, with the next one set for 6:30 p.m. Nov. 16 at the water district office, 255 Ute St., in Ignacio.
A second water-treatment plant could be built at the base of the Lake Nighthorse dam if the state of Colorado acquires water in the Animas-La Plata Project, Harris said. The district would like 500 to 1,000 acre-feet from A-LP.
Legislators have approved spending $24 million for A-LP water, but the Colorado Water Conservation Board hasnt decided whether to make the purchase. The total cost of water to the state would be $36 million.
In May 2010, voters approved a 5 mill levy and allowed the district to lift its revenue limit imposed by the Taxpayers Bill of Rights, or TABOR. The 5 mill levy costs the owner of a $200,000 house about $7 a month.
The district covers 400 square miles. Federal, state and tribal land and property of landowners who opted out of the district will not receive water.