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PAWSD alters major fees

The Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District Board of Directors voted Tuesday night to rescind Capital Investment Fees (CIF) imposed on new construction, in favor of collecting a $3,000 deposit per Equivalent Unit (EU) for connection to each of the water and wastewater systems. The move potentially reduces total CIF assessments by more than $1,800 per EU.

As discussion during the five-hour PAWSD board meeting turned to consideration of district fees, director Roy Vega proposed a resolution placing an immediate moratorium on both the existing water and wastewater CIFs. Together, those fees equaled $7,831, with $3,579 going to the water enterprise fund, and $4,252 to the wastewater enterprise fund.

Following a lengthy exchange, the even-numbered board managed another impasse, effectively defeating the resolution with a two-to-two vote — directors Vega and Allan Bunch in favor, directors Steve Hartvigsen and Windsor Chacey opposed.

With that, board chair Hartvigsen suggested working toward a compromise. Another long and passionate dialog followed, before the directors informally agreed that updated and revised CIFs would soon be necessary.

Until they can agree on what those fees should be, however, the board voted three to zero — Hartvigsen, Vega and Bunch in favor and Chacey abstaining — to accept a $3,000 deposit for each enterprise fund.

Once revised CIFs are adopted, the district would refund the difference between the new fees and deposits, assuming the new fees are less than the deposits. At no time, however, will consumers be assessed more per EU than their original deposit.

Given a board vacancy created by Bob Huff’s recent resignation for health reasons, split decisions have been increasingly common at PAWSD meetings. With four candidates expressing interest in filling Huff’s seat, however, that matter may soon be resolved.