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Last updated 7:31PM ET
December 11, 2017
KSUT Regional
KSUT Regional
Pros and Cons Heard About La Plata Water District Plan
(2007-09-20)
(ksut) - HOST LEAD: Those for and against creation of a Rural Water District in Southeast La Plata County squared off at a public hearing Tuesday.
But it will be next month before La Plata County Commissioners vote on whether to keep the issue alive.
KSUT's Victor Locke reports.

VICTOR: Almost 75 people packed the county commissioner's hearing room Tuesday.
They were there to comment on plans by a citizens task force, to create the La Plata-Archuleta Water District.
The rural water company would be capable of serving 4-thousand homes in 400 square miles of Southeast La Plata County, and a small part of Archuleta County, with drinking water.
They've obtain water rights and leases from several sources, including several that provide water for agriculture in the area.
It would cost almost 85-million dollars to build a water treatment plant and thread an estimated 190-miles of supply pipe throughout the area.
Eighteen people spoke up during the two and a half hour hearing.
Six had questions, 7 voiced support and 5 voiced opposition to the district.
Phylliss Ludwig of Ludwig Ranch was among those who don't like the idea.
She's worried the district will take away water needed for irrigation.
LUDWIG: I HATE TO SEE OUR CROPS DRY UP, SELL OUR CATTLE, OR WHATEVER ELSE COMES UP.
Kathleen Threadgill and several others criticized the district's proposed "pay as you go" construction plan.
They feel they could pay taxes to the district for years before receiving water.
THREADGILL: MY GRANDKIDS MIGHT BE ABLE TO SEE THE WATERLINE IN THEIR LIFETIME, I DON'T THINK I WOULD, AND I DON'T REALLY NEED IT.
Others, like Karyl Helmen-Schmid criticized the plan as incomplete.
HELMEN-SCHMID: IF THIS WERE A BANK LOAN, YOU WERE A BANK LOAN COMMITTEE, AND YOU WERE ASKED TO LOAN 85-MILLION DOLLARS WOULD YOU BASE THAT ON THIS INFORMATION? I THINK IT SHOULD BE REVIEWED IN THAT WAY AND I THINK YOU NEED TO GIVE IT MUCH GREATER SCRUTINY AND THE TASK FORCE NEEDS TO PROVIDE MORE SPECIFICS.
The cries for more specifics in the plan were dismissed by two supporters of the district who spoke up, Dick Norton and Ralph Phelps.
NORTON: THIS IS A PROCESS PROCEEDING. ALL THEY'RE SAYING IS LET US MOVE ONE STEP FORWARD, TO GO TO THE COURT AND THEN GO TO THE PEOPLE. THE NAYSAYERS I THINK ARE NITPICKING ASKING FOR DETAIL THAT IS JUST UNREASONABLE AT THIS STAGE OF THE PROCEEDINGS.
PHELPS: THERE'S A LOT OF FOLKS OUT THERE JUST LIKE ME WHO AREN'T HERE TODAY, THEY DON'T LIKE TO HEAR THE BICKERING AND BELLYACHING AND THE CARRYING ON OVER SOME ISSUES THAT ARE NOT TIMELY, NOT THAT THEY AREN'T ISSUES, THEY ARE ISSUES, AND I THINK THAT THEY WILL ALL BE ADDRESSED.
Rancher Tom Givon says he favors the district but is angered that 9 energy companies have filed to be excluded.
GIVON: TO GRANT ALL EXCLUSIONS FOR THE GAS AND OIL PROPERTIES IS BASICALLY TO SAY THE FOLLOWING: YOU COME AND TRASH OUR SURFACE, YOU COME AND TRASH OUR ROADS, YOU COME AND FOUL UP OUR WATER, BUT YOU ARE GOING TO EXCLUDE YOURSELF FROM PAYING FOR SOME OF THE THINGS THAT MAKE IT POSSIBLE FOR US TO CONTINUE TO LIVE THERE.
Dick Lunceford, a member of the water district formation task force says those companies that have asked to be excluded represent only a small percentage of the energy industry.
LUNCEFORD: BP HAS NOT ASKED FOR AN EXCLUSION. BP HAS THE BULK OF THE VALUATION IN THIS DISTRICT AND BY THE TIME THE EXCLUSIONS ARE CALCULATED, BP PICKS UP BETWEEN 65 AND 70 PERCENT OF THE TOTAL VALUATION AND THE TOTAL COST OF THIS DISTRICT, SO THERE IS ONE HUGE SUPPORTER, GAS COMPANY, THAT IS VERY COMMUNITY MINDED AND HAS NOT OPTED OUT.
And Lunceford defended the lack of specificity in the plan.
LUNCEFORD: WE AS CITIZENS SPECIFICALLY AND I THINK CORRECTLY DIDN'T DECIDE A LOT OF THE SPECIFICS AS FAR AS LOCATION OF THE PLANT, THE PIPELINES, THE TIMETABLE FOR BUILD OUT, ALL THOSE TYPES OF THINGS IN HOPES THAT AN ELECTED BOARD WOULD HAVE THAT OPPORTUNITY TO DECIDE THOSE.
Other proponents said the district would help insure orderly growth and services in the area where many have wells that are drying up and others have to haul water.
The question before the commissioners is whether to approve the service plan and send it to district court, which could then approve an election.
That election would create the district and a managing board.
That board would draw up actual construction and service plans, which would be funded by a tax levy and bond issue, which would need to be voter approved in a later election.
In addition to energy firms, almost 700 individuals have asked to be excluded from the district.
Others can do so until October 5th, or when the district goes before the court.
In order to facilitate more input, the commissioners continued the hearing, and any decision on the district, until an October 15th meeting at the Sun Ute Community Center.
From KSUT, Four Corner's Public Radio, I'm Victor Locke.
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