Blue River reactivating public services
Increase in water rates is approved
December 9, 2021 | View PDF
Where two million gallons of water is going remains a mystery for the Blue River Water District. The suspected leak, however, wasn’t behind the water board‘s vote to charge residential customers a $25 monthly fee in addition to $3.50 per thousand gallons for the water they use.
Although the missing amount might seem alarming, it’s down a million gallons from a year ago thanks to improvements made to the system. In fact, Blue River isn’t alone, according to Jason Carman, with the Rural Community Assistance Corporation. Carman told the board it’s often referred to as “non-revenue water” and said solutions would come as a result of monitoring flows at the pump station and replacing homesite meters that aren’t working.
Following the Holiday Farm Fire, customer billings have dropped from 120 to 72. Expenses including maintenance, insurance, and electricity have gone up. Tax revenues also have declined by 75% due to the fire, according to board chair Joshua Cloke
“The bottom line is we currently have about $60,000 in expenses but are bringing in a total of $30,0000,” reported board treasurer Tony Casad. “Even if we get the money from the county to rebuild the system we’re still in the same position,” he said. “The maintenance costs will go down, but not the other costs.”
How the district has explained the situation to the public was a concern for Tim Hererra, a former board member himself. He said he couldn’t find reports the district was relying on to make cost comparisons with other districts or minutes of board meetings. “If that could be available to me and everyone that would be a huge step in the right direction,” Herrarra said.
The district estimated rates could have gone from $125 to $150 per month to come out even.
“The reality is it will be two years before the system is rebuilt,” Cloke said. “We don’t have any choice but to raise rates.”