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As a departing PAWSD board member, I believe it my duty to correct misinformation which has been circulated in pursuit of the election campaigns of certain candidates for the upcoming election.
First, printed assertions about Pagosa water rates relative to other water utilities are highly problematic and misleading unless the writer qualifies the comparison with factors among others such as amount of debt being serviced, number of treatment plants in operation, miles and age of transmission line and topography in which it is laid and density of service connections on the system.
With regard to the water loss issue, a recent audit has found that the District’s power and chemical cost for real losses last year were $90,000, or enough only to replace a little over a third of a mile of transmission line. But where would one start such a program out of over 300 miles of line? That is why the board has budgeted $350,000 on metering in the last three years, to help management get a handle on water loss as part of a long term solution to this problem, which has been over four decades in the making but only in the last four years in the forefront of planning.
Finally, much is made of Bunch’s vote against the idea of referring future revenue bonded indebtedness to a vote of some kind. That is a political red herring. First, any such action by the board is outside statute and therefore entirely symbolic and non-binding on future boards. Secondly, since revenue indebtedness is repaid from rates and not property taxes, it is not entirely clear how a referendum vote for ratepayers only could be fairly conducted. Third, a board could choose to ignore any such polling. So, while I voted for the motion to amend the bylaws to refer revenue bonding to a poll of the ratepayers, there was ample reason why two directors chose to oppose the motion.
I don’t believe it is fair to promote other candidates by falsely attacking the record of Allan Bunch. Bunch has a proven record, and it is one that I can support for a second term.
Roy D. Vega