By Shanti Johnson
The Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District (PAWSD) Board of Directors approved moving forward with negotiations to include the Log Park Water Company (LPWC) in the district during their meeting on Feb. 11.
PAWSD Business Manager Shellie Peterson and Special Projects Manager Renee Lewis have been meeting with LPWC representatives for several months to work on the logistics for the possible inclusion of Log Park customers into the PAWSD system.
Judy Reilly, president of the LPWC, was present at the PAWSD meeting, along with two other LPWC representatives, to provide further data to the board. Reilly informed the board that LPWC is currently owned by all 42 landowners in the development, and that the company has its own infrastructure.
Last year, the LPWC entered into an out-of-district agreement with PAWSD, through which they purchase water directly from PAWSD.Outside of the 42 company owners, LPWC only has one outside customer, King Capital.
One of the major questions raised by the PAWSD board was what will be done with King Capital if LPWC is absorbed into PAWSD.
LPWC representatives said King Capital would be faced with the ultimatum to either include, or opt out of their service agreement.
The decision of whether or not LPWC will opt to join PAWSD, if approved by the board, will be decided by voters in the Log Park development. Eligible voters on the measure will be those property owners who are also registered to vote in Colorado.
PAWSD Director Glenn Walsh voiced his concern about the inclusion of the development, saying he did not want the majority of people in the Log Park district pulled in by a minority of people eligible to vote.
LPWC representatives stated that there are several LPWC customers who either do not currently live in Colorado, or who live here only seasonally.
Reilly informed Walsh and the board that a letter went out in December to all 42 property owners informing them about voting requirements, and about the $5,884 inclusion fee that each owner would have to pay before receiving water service from PAWSD. As of the Feb. 11 meeting, she had received no unfavorable replies to the letter.
Currently LPWC has 28 active taps with 14 properties left undeveloped. This, in addition to Walsh’s concerns about the possibility of a minority-approved inclusion, raised further concerns with the PAWSD board.
Several board members were concerned that PAWSD may not receive inclusion fees from the 14 undeveloped properties, or possibly the properties of individuals not wishing to become part of PAWSD.
Director Allan Bunch stated, “The district has gotten stung in the past. We’re not in the collections business.”
Director Burt Adams asked what the ramifications would be if the 14 undeveloped properties never paid the inclusion fee.
Reilly replied that, if properties want water, they will pay the inclusion fee.
Peterson added multiple times during the discussion that the mechanics of the inclusion did not concern her at all.
Lewis responded directly to Adams, saying, “It could be no problem at all.”
Lewis went on to say that the biggest ramification could be that including LPWC customers without receiving every single inclusion fee up front could change the district’s precedent.
Bunch stated, “I don’t see us as a banker in this situation and that makes me feel better.”
However, Bunch went on to say that changing the district’s precedent, especially in regards to fees, did not make him happy.
After further discussion, the PAWSD board decided to approve moving forward on negotiating the mechanics of the inclusion and to begin seeking legal counsel to work out specifics.