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PAWSD will participate in fiber optic project

During a special meeting this Tuesday afternoon, the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District board of directors listened to the 2011 audit presentation.

This year, the firm contracted to prepare the audit was RFarmer, LLC, based in Lamar. This is the first time the firm has worked on the district audit.

“You have pretty good numbers,” Ronny Farmer said during his presentation. Farmer added that PAWSD did not have any compliance issues.

Farmer noted that the PAWSD general fund balance was in good financial shape.

The board unanimously approved the 2011 audit.

During the special meeting, the board members came to a decision on the fiber optic proposal the Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners presented to them last month.

The Town of Pagosa Springs has offered PAWSD the opportunity to participate in the Southwest Colorado Access Network (SCAN) Fiber Optic Network. PAWSD, for its part, would have to pay $9,432, which is only 25 percent of the total cost.

Kyle Tjelmland, PAWSD GIS and asset management coordinator, said that 75 percent of the cost would be picked up by SCAN.

PAWSD District Manager Ed Winton explained to the board members that they have to decide whether or not they want to participate in the project. All further details of the project would be brought to the board.

“This kind of option will probably never come by again. This is the future,” board chair Allan Bunch said.

Director Roy Vega made a motion that PAWSD participate in the SCAN Fiber Optic Network up to the amount of $9,432. Director Mike Church was the only director to vote against, stating that he did not see it as a necessary addition.

During the PAWSD special meeting, the board approved the National Christian Foundation Real Property’s petition for inclusion.

After the above issues were voted on, the board adjourned the special meeting and went into a work session.

The first issue discussed was the Community Development Action Plan, which the Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners approved earlier this month.

The main issue that Director Glenn Walsh brought before the board was the use of the PAWSD name in connection with various projects, in particular the first project CDAP listed: “Public Infrastructure: Expand Pagosa Area Water & Sanitation District (P.A.W.S.D.) Raw Water Supply, Treatment and Distribution Capacity.” The CDAP ranks the project as high priority and lists the expected outcomes and actions as, “Expand raw water storage capacity,” and “Develop resources needed to meet anticipated 5-30 year growth and 50 plus year water supply.”

Walsh said the only thing this project could be referring to was the Dry Gulch Reservoir project.

“I don’t want to see Dry Gulch pushed by county unless this board has looked at it,” Walsh said.

Vega stated his opinion that, for the BoCC, it was probably an oversight, yet the PAWSD board should take action to address the issue.

“They are invoking our name without any authority; they can’t do that,” Vega said.

The board agreed that this should be on the agenda for the next board meeting so the board can take action.

The next item was a request from Vega that the Snowball Watershed be considered for hazardous fire mitigation with the U.S. Forest Service. Vega stated that if the Healthy Forest Management Act, introduced by Rep. Scott Tipton passes, more authority would be given to local authorities to manage hazardous local fuel reductions.

It was agreed that Vega, along with Winton, would go to Tipton’s local office and discuss ways to promote the bill with local representatives.

The work session ended with a discussion on equivalent units.

“It is my contention that EUs make a good planning tool and a bad billing tool,” board chair Bunch said.

Vega said that the definition of an EU was too vague and should be better defined.

Walsh posed that one EU should be one house. Currently, an EU is measured by the fixture count of the structure.

Winton suggested the directors consider EU in relation to the equivalent ratio per meter size, the minimum meter size being 1 inch.

The matter of EUs will be placed on the next meeting’s agenda giving directors time to review the language in the current EU policy.

The next regular PAWSD board of directors meeting will be at 2 p.m. on Aug. 14 at the PAWSD offices located at 100 Lyn Ave.

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