Business – The Pagosa Springs SUN http://www.pagosasun.com The most trusted source for news and information about Pagosa Springs, Colorado. Thu, 23 Jan 2020 22:15:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.5 PAWSD addresses affordable housing fee waivers, making up for lost revenue http://www.pagosasun.com/pawsd-addresses-affordable-housing-fee-waivers-making-up-for-lost-revenue-2/ Wed, 29 Jan 2020 12:00:40 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=195900 By Chris Mannara
Staff Writer

During a regular meeting of the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District (PAWSD) Board of Directors on Jan. 16, the board discussed potential fee waivers for affordable housing developments and how to make up for potential lost revenue.
The majority of the discussion at the board meeting on Jan. 16 centered around a worksheet crafted by PAWSD District Manager Justin Ramsey.
In a follow-up interview on Jan. 21, Ramsey clarified more about what the fee waivers could mean for PAWSD.
Currently, PAWSD charges about $4,898.68 per equivalent unit (EU) for its water capital investment fee (CIF), according to the worksheet.
For its wastewater CIF, PAWSD charges $1,079.44 per EU.
PAWSD has 5,961 water connections, 3,382 wastewater connections, 7,837 water EUs and 4,581.5 wastewater EUs.
Within the worksheet, variables are also noted, and for potential affordable housing developments that would serve those making under 60 percent of the area median income (AMI), PAWSD would be willing to waive 100 percent of its CIF fees.
For developments that are 60 to 80 percent AMI, PAWSD would be willing to waive 50 percent of its CIF; for developments that are 81 to 100 percent AMI, PAWSD would only be willing to waive 25 percent of its CIF, according to the worksheet.
“An AMI is either a mortgage, or rent of $1,269. It gets more complicated than that. It depends on if you’re single, married, kids, all that stuff, but in general, that’s what it is,” Ramsey said.
PAWSD has not figured out who exactly will tell them what the AMI is, he noted.
“We’re not going to let the contractor tell us that,” he said. “If somebody comes in and they are going to build a home that’s less than 60 percent AMI, we’re not going to charge them a capital investment fee.”
Assumptions
Within the worksheet, it is noted that PAWSD will have 2 percent growth annually; this equates to about 157 water EUs, or $768,092.76, and 92 wastewater EUs, or $99,308.48.
“That’s where we came up with for our capital investment plan and it’s what we use for our rate study. So, it’s consistent with that rate study,” he said. “Based on 2 percent, we’re going to see 157 water EUs this coming year and 92 wastewater EUs, assuming 2 percent growth.”
Additionally, PAWSD assumes that, of those 157 EUs, 5 percent will be workforce housing that is less than 60 percent AMI, 8 percent will be 61 to 80 percent AMI, and 10 percent will be 81 to 100 percent AMI, Ramsey explained.
If there is 5 percent of workforce housing that is less than 60 percent AMI, that equates to eight EUs, which also equates to $39,189.44 that PAWSD could lose in water EUs, Ramsey explained.
Additionally, that would equate to five wastewater EUs, which equates to $5,397.20 that PAWSD could lose.
For units that are 61 to 80 percent AMI, it would be 12 water EUs and seven wastewater EUs, which means PAWSD could lose $29,392.08 and $3,778.04, respectively.
On developments that are 81 to 100 percent AMI, that equates to 16 water EUs and 10 wastewater EUs, respectively, which means PAWSD could lose $19,594.72 and $2,698.60.
“Everything is based off that rate study and that capital investment plan, which assumes you’re going to have that money,” he said.
Impact
Under the assumption that there will be 157 new homes built next year, and that 5 percent will be under 60 percent AMI, 8 percent will be 60 to 80 percent AMI and 10 percent AMI, PAWSD could lose $88,176.24 in water CIF and $11,873.84 in wastewater CIF, according to Ramsey.
“We’re going to make an assumption. We’re going to go out on a limb and say this is how many we’re going to get,” he said. “If there’s more, we lose more. If there’s less, we don’t lose that much.”
If everything goes according to PAWSD’s assumptions, PAWSD will have to make up about $100,000 in lost water and wastewater CIFs, Ramsey noted.
The way to make that up is to increase the remaining CIFs for all of the homes that are being built for over 100 percent AMI, Ramsey explained.
For homes above 100 percent AMI, water CIFs could go up $728.73, making the new water CIF $5,627.41, Ramsey explained.
This would be a 12.9 percent increase for the water CIF, he added.
For the wastewater CIF, homes over 100 percent AMI could see an increase of $169.63, making the new wastewater CIF $1,249.07.
This would be a 13.6 percent increase for wastewater CIF, he noted.
“If all that happens and all of our assumptions are correct, that we do get exactly 157 new homes built and 5 percent of those are less than 60, 8 percent of those are 60 to 80 and 10 percent are 81 to 100, PAWSD breaks even,” he said. “If it’s less than that, we’ll actually bring in more. If it’s more than that, we will lose some. But we’re assuming, over time, that’s what we’re going to average.”
These assumptions could be adjusted later, Ramsey explained later.
“The board represents the people. So, they have to make a decision on if it’s worth — every house that’s built out there that’s not affordable is now going to cost an extra $900,” Ramsey said. “Is the benefit of having affordable housing worth that additional cost to the public as a whole?”
Ramsey explained that this proposition will be a decision item for the PAWSD Board of Directors at its next board meeting on Feb. 13 at 5 p.m. at the district office, 100 Lyn Ave.

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Historic Preservation Board seeking public input on future of Water Works building http://www.pagosasun.com/historic-preservation-board-seeking-public-input-on-future-of-water-works-building/ Wed, 29 Jan 2020 12:00:07 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=195993 By Randi Pierce
Staff Writer

The Town of Pagosa Springs is seeking input on what should be done with the town’s only public historic site, the Water Works site near U.S. 160 and 1st Street.
To help determine the future use or uses of the site, the town’s Historic Preservation Board is slated to host a series of three design vision exercises to help garner ideas, with the first set for 5 to 7 p.m. on Feb. 5 in the Ross Aragon Community Center.
The design vision exercises are the next step in a planning and repurposing process for the site that dates back to 2016.
The site includes the historic Water Works building and tanks, as well as an older stone arch bridge known as the Rumbaugh Creek bridge, which have all seen restoration work in recent years thanks to grant funding received by the town.
“The Water Plant in Pagosa Springs, Colorado, was built in 1938 as one of the projects built under the auspices of the federal New Deal’s Works Progress Administration,” a historic assessment of the site notes. “The rustic stone building and its three associated water-settling tanks, which cost $4,630.00, provided domestic water to the residents of the town from the San Juan River.”
The assessment further explains that water flowed into the first settling tank, where dirt settled on the floor and clear water flowed over the gaps in the tops of the walls to the second and third tanks.
It continues to explain the water was pumped from the third tank through the Water Works building, to a pipeline to a water tower on the west side of town, where it was gravity-fed through pipes into homes and businesses.
It is unknown when the building stopped being used to treat water, though it is believed it was used until the 1960s, Senior Planner Cindy Schultz told The SUN.
“What should be done with the wall? Or the stone arch bridge? Or the structure? What would make your kids want to visit here? What do they want to see? What would make this a cool place to visit? This is your public historic site, help us make your wishes reality,” a town press release states.
The second of the design vision events is slated for the same time and place on Feb. 19, with the third following on March 4.
The press release notes the site is also slated to eventually host the Riverwalk trail connection from Cotton Hole to the River Center area east of the river.
“We hope you will attend and take part in creating this vision for this place that you will feel connected to and cherish into the future. Make history now,” the press release states.

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No fooling: Electric rates will increase April 1 http://www.pagosasun.com/no-fooling-electric-rates-will-increase-april-1-2/ Tue, 28 Jan 2020 12:00:12 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=195907 By Lonnie Tucker
Special to The SUN

To maintain and improve electricity infrastructure and to prepare for the future of the electric grid, the La Plata Electric Association (LPEA) Board of Directors approved new rate changes last week that will generate $3 million for the association. The new rates will go into effect April 1.
LPEA has not had a rate increase since 2016 and has been unable to keep up with inflation and the increasing cost of equipment and services that an electric supplier must provide to its members. For example, during the last year, LPEA experienced major outages caused by old and decaying infrastructure.
“Electricity is critical to maintaining our economy and our lives in the 21st century,” said Bob Lynch, LPEA’s board president. “We must continue to invest or we will fall behind in providing the excellent electrical service that LPEA members expect.”
LPEA’s base and energy charge for the General Service rate (residential and small commercial) will remain the same, but LPEA will be adding a new peak-power rate charge. This new peak-power rate charge will encourage LPEA members to monitor their energy use at periods when demand for electricity is highest — from 4 to 9 p.m. The new peak-power rate will be $1.50 per kilowatt and it is estimated that the average monthly bill will increase just $5 per month. The peak-power charge gives the members an ability to lower this increase through their choices of how and when they use electricity.
“As a board, we voted to add a peak-power rate to assist LPEA in meeting our 2020 financial obligations and increasing our cooperative’s safety and reliability,” Lynch said. “It also allows for our members to have more choices in controlling their bills, giving them the flexibility to manage their energy during peak-power pricing.”
LPEA’s peak-power rate will encourage members to understand their energy usage and make different choices of how and when they use electricity. To support our members in this effort, LPEA will be developing new programs and enhancing current tools to assist members in managing their daily usage. That information will be available to members by the end of March.
LPEA’s SmartHub application already allows members to see their usage hour by hour, allowing them to understand how they are using energy and make simple changes, like running your dishwasher or drying clothes outside the 4 to 9 p.m. peak hours.
“LPEA’s peak-power rate is important for the future as LPEA modernizes its electric grid which will include new technologies for controlling usage, and to accommodate things like battery storage systems, more alternative power sources and electric vehicles,” said Jessica Matlock, LPEA CEO.

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Fire board approves chief’s contract, discusses $50,000 donation http://www.pagosasun.com/fire-board-approves-chiefs-contract-discusses-50000-donation-2/ Mon, 27 Jan 2020 12:00:49 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=195905 By John Finefrock
Staff Writer

At its meeting on Jan. 14, the Pagosa Fire Protection District (PFPD) Board of Directors approved a new contract for its chief and discussed a $50,000 donation made to the district in memory of Electra Churchill, who passed away in a structure fire on Oct. 11.
PFPD Chief Randy Larson had been negotiating his contract for months and insisted that negotiations be made in the public portions of the PFPD board meetings instead of in private during executive session.
Larson requested that his contract include a stipulation that his health care be covered for about six months after he vacated his post, should he resign, and the PFPD board spent the last few months finding a way to address Larson’s request.
Larson explained in an interview Tuesday that he and the board came to a “compromise” in which the board passed a policy regarding paying out sick leave that now applies to all qualified PFPD employees.
The policy states that any full-time employee who has worked at the department for at least 10 years “will be eligible to receive a lump sum payment for their accrued sick time, not to exceed 240 hours (30 days)” according to PFPD’s policies manual.
Larson’s salary is now $96,305, about $3,000 more than what he earned previously.
PFPD staff noted this is a cost of living increase only and prior to this raise Larson received a performance-based pay increase in January 2019 for the first time since becoming fire chief.
Larson began his post as fire chief in 2016.
The contract does not specify a certain length of time for Larson’s employment, but can be terminated by him or the PFPD board upon 30 days written notice to the other party.
$50,000 donation
At the same meeting,Larson reported to the board that PFPD received a donation of $50,000 from Churchill’s family.
Larson reported that the donation would be used to buy a new fire prevention vehicle and that, with the family’s permission, PFPD will inscribe it with “In memory of Electra Churchill.”
Fred Phillips, Churchill’s life partner, submitted a statement to The SUN on Tuesday.
“I lost my best friend and the love of my life of 25 years,” Phillips wrote. “I was so proud when I heard my son Cassidy Phillips and [his] wife Carin Phillips had made a substantial donation to the Archuleta Fire Department. I am delighted that the fire department has considered buying a new fire truck and dedicating it to the honor of Electra Churchill. Electra was a special person and Pagosa Springs was absolutely her favorite place in the world. As for me, my recovery has been amazing and I look forward to getting back to Pagosa. I thank each and every one of you for the efforts you made to save Electra and for granting me the opportunity to live my life for her each and every day.”
Fred Phillips was seriously injured in the Oct. 11 fire.
The next PFPD Board of Directors meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 11 at Station 1, located at 191 N. Pagosa Blvd.

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2019 YEAR IN REVIEW http://www.pagosasun.com/2019-year-in-review-4/ Thu, 23 Jan 2020 22:00:45 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=195937 2019 was a busy and interesting year in Pagosa Country. There was no want for good news, bad news, controversial issues, and no lack of interesting news events to keep SUN readers focused on local events, situations and personalities.
The SUN is taking a look back at some of those events, selected by SUN staff writers. This week, we look back at October, November and December.

OCTOBER

• The Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) approved upon first reading a revised noise ordinance and adopted the Model Traffic Code upon second and final reading at the board’s regular meeting on Oct. 1.

The full version of this story is available in the print edition and e-edition of the Pagosa Springs SUN. Subscribe today by calling (970)264-2100 or click here.

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Three town council seats up for grabs in April election http://www.pagosasun.com/three-town-council-seats-up-for-grabs-in-april-election/ Thu, 23 Jan 2020 22:00:36 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=195947 By Randi Pierce
Staff Writer

Those interested in serving on the Pagosa Springs Town Council still have a few days to return a completed petition if they want to make the April 7 ballot.
The election will be a mail-ballot election and is set to include the election of three at-large town council members.
Those seats are currently held by David Schanzenbaker, Tracy Bunning and Mat deGraaf.
Schanzenbaker and Bunning who were both originally elected in 2012, are term-limited and cannot run again.
Those interested in running have until Jan. 27 to return completed petitions.
As of Tuesday afternoon, Town Clerk April Hessman reported that four petitions had been picked up, with none of them yet returned.
Per Section 2.7 of the town’s charter, to be eligible to be elected to office, a person must be a citizen of the United States, a registered elector of the town and have been a town resident for no fewer than 12 consecutive months immediately preceding the election.
Candidates cannot have been convicted of a felony and cannot be an employee of the town.
The election
According to the town’s website, ballots for the election will be mailed to registered town voters beginning March 16.
If you are not registered to vote, you can register with the Archuleta County Clerk’s Office located in the Archuleta County Courthouse at 449 San Juan St.
To receive a ballot by mail, you must be registered to vote prior to March 5.
Ballots can then be dropped off at Town Hall during regular business hours, or from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Election Day.

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Plaintiffs in lawsuit against county argue settlement payment was too high http://www.pagosasun.com/plaintiffs-in-lawsuit-against-county-argue-settlement-payment-was-too-high/ Thu, 23 Jan 2020 22:00:35 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=195945 By John Finefrock
Staff Writer

Three plaintiffs in a 2016 lawsuit against current and former county officials are arguing the amount of attorney fees they paid to settle the case was too high based on their calculations of the county attorney’s hourly rate.

The full version of this story is available in the print edition and e-edition of the Pagosa Springs SUN. Subscribe today by calling (970)264-2100 or click here.

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PAWSD sets meeting posting locations http://www.pagosasun.com/pawsd-sets-meeting-posting-locations-2/ Thu, 23 Jan 2020 22:00:32 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=195984 By Chris Mannara
Staff Writer

At a regular meeting of the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District (PAWSD) Board of Directors on Jan. 16, the board adopted a resolution that designates the posting places for meetings of the board.

The full version of this story is available in the print edition and e-edition of the Pagosa Springs SUN. Subscribe today by calling (970)264-2100 or click here.

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Public Meetings http://www.pagosasun.com/public-meetings-206/ Thu, 23 Jan 2020 22:00:24 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=195931 The following meetings are subject to change.
Thursday, Jan. 23
Pagosa Springs Town Council meeting. 5 p.m., Town Hall council chambers, 551 Hot Springs Blvd.
Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District and San Juan Water Conservancy District joint work session. 5 p.m., 100 Lyn Ave.
Tuesday, Jan. 28
Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners work session. 8:30 a.m., Archuleta County administration building, commissioners’ meeting room, 398 Lewis St.
Southwestern Water Conservation District board teleconference. 9 a.m. Call (605) 475-5618, 797282#.
Archuleta School District Board of Education special meeting. 5 p.m., Pagosa Springs High School auditorium, 800 S. 8th St.
Town Planning Commission, Board of Adjustments and Design Review Board. 5:30 p.m., Town Hall council chambers, 551 Hot Springs Blvd.
Wednesday, Jan. 29
Pagosa Peak Open School board recruitment luncheon. Noon, 7 Parelli Way.
Thursday, Jan. 30
Pagosa Springs Town Council work session. 5 p.m., Town Hall council chambers, 551 Hot Springs Blvd.
Monday, Feb. 3
San Juan Water Conservancy District meeting. 5 p.m., 46 Eaton Drive, Unit 5.
Tuesday, Feb. 4
Archuleta School District Board of Education high school visit. 8 a.m., Pagosa Springs High School, 800 S. 8th St.
Archuleta School District Board of Education work session and regular meeting. 5 p.m. work session, 6 p.m. regular meeting, Pagosa Springs High School auditorium, 800 S. 8th St.
Pagosa Springs Town Council meeting. 5 p.m., Town Hall council chambers, 551 Hot Springs Blvd.
Wednesday, Feb. 5
Town of Pagosa Springs Historic Preservation Board Water Works design visioning exercise. 5 p.m., Ross Aragon Community Center, 451 Hot Springs Blvd.
Thursday, Feb. 6
Dispatch Executive Management board. 9:30 a.m., Pagosa Springs Medical Center board room, 95 S. Pagosa Blvd.
Monday, Feb. 10
Pagosa Peak Open School Board of Directors regular meeting. 5 p.m., 7 Parelli Way.
Wednesday, Feb. 12
Southwestern Water Conservation District grant meeting and teleconference. Time to be determined, 841 E. Second Ave., Durango, or call (605) 475-5618, 797282#.
Thursday, Feb. 13
Southwestern Water Conservation District grant meeting and teleconference. Time to be determined, 841 E. Second Ave., Durango, or call (605) 475-5618, 797282#.
Wednesday, Feb. 19
Upper San Juan Library District board meeting. 4 p.m., Ruby M. Sisson Memorial Library, 811 San Juan St.
Town of Pagosa Springs Historic Preservation Board Water Works design visioning exercise. 5 p.m., Ross Aragon Community Center, 451 Hot Springs Blvd.
Tuesday, Feb. 25
Upper San Juan Health Service District regular board meeting. 5:30 p.m., Pagosa Springs Medical Center, 95 S. Pagosa Blvd.
Wednesday, Feb. 26
Southwestern Water Conservation District board teleconference. 9 a.m. Call (605) 475-5618, 797282#.
Wednesday, March 4
Town of Pagosa Springs Historic Preservation Board Water Works design visioning exercise. 5 p.m., Ross Aragon Community Center, 451 Hot Springs Blvd.
Public meeting information should be sent to editor@pagosasun.com.
with “Public Meeting” in the subject line. The deadline is noon Monday each week prior to publication for that week’s issue.

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Town sets meeting schedule for 2020, adopts financial policy http://www.pagosasun.com/town-sets-meeting-schedule-for-2020-adopts-financial-policy/ Thu, 23 Jan 2020 22:00:19 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=195991 By Randi Pierce
Staff Writer

The Pagosa Springs Town Council and Pagosa Springs Sanitation General Improvement District (PSSGID) dealt with several beginning-of-the year items on Jan. 7, including setting their regular meeting schedules and again approving a town financial policy.

The full version of this story is available in the print edition and e-edition of the Pagosa Springs SUN. Subscribe today by calling (970)264-2100 or click here.

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