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BoCC, PAWSD to meet Monday

Possibly putting an end to over seven months of contention, the Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners will hold a work session Monday night slated to cover the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District Annual Report that was delivered to the BoCC April 27.

The work session will be held at 6 p.m. Monday, May 24, in the Ross Aragon Community Center, in the South Conference Room (the senior dining room).

The BoCC began requesting financial documents from PAWSD last fall, expressing concerns over PAWSD’s spending, Dry Gulch Reservoir assumptions, and more.

In the Nov. 19 issue of The SUN, both entities wrote letters to the editor requesting a meeting between the two, with the BoCC requesting a public forum and PAWSD requesting a board-to-board meeting.

A meeting in a neutral location was scheduled for Feb. 4, but was cancelled due to a family emergency on the part of a PAWSD board member. The meeting was not rescheduled.

In a March 8 letter to PAWSD, the BoCC demanded that PAWSD file an annual report with the county that “shall address information on the progress of the District in the implementation of its Service Plan and shall specifically address” a number of matters, as per C.R.S. 32-1-207(3)(c).

The six-page letter then listed 25 questions, concerns and requests for information pertaining to future population and water use projections, the proposed Dry Gulch Reservoir, related impact fees, relevant service fees, and budget and debt matters, to be included in the annual report.

The subsequent report, dated April 26, is 25 pages; however, with attached exhibits, about 600 pages were delivered to the BoCC.

The report follows the format suggested for special district annual reports by the Colorado State Auditor’s Office and offers an overview of PAWSD; the district boundary; and agreements with other taxing districts, service providers, specific project contracts, water provision service agreements and reimbursement agreements.

The report then delves into the service plan, including its creation, powers and adherence to the plan in terms of service area, water and wastewater service, and fiscal matters; project development progress; and the financial plan and financial activities.

Another section addresses more specific issues brought up by the BoCC that were not answered in other sections of the report, such as Dry Gulch project size and cost, water loss and the economic effects of connection fees.

The commissioners said the Monday meeting will be held to discuss the annual report, as well as other issues.

“We hope to open a dialogue with them on some of the issues,” BoCC Chair Clifford Lucero said, citing the service plan as an example. “We have some questions and, hopefully, they have some answers.”

“This is just kind of a culmination of our letter to them and their response with the annual report,” said Commissioner John Ranson, adding, “I think everybody’s on board that it’s time we all meet.”