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RBC I Alden Vanden Brink, district manager of the Rio Blanco Water Conservancy District made a very interesting proposal to thirsty property owners on Feb. 27. The concept of creating a rural water district to provide a reliable, high-quality potable water supply and service to property, individuals and businesses was presented for community input and discussion. There’s a large demographic of homes and properties outside the service area of the Town of Rangely water system. The proposed service area would be any property within the Rio Blanco Water Conservancy District boundaries; outlying areas not presently served by the Town of Rangely.
Vanden Brink, armed with bid information from engineering and consulting firm AE2S, offered meeting attendees tentative financials for the project. This would not be a tax increase but rather a membership paid for by members and other funding. Vanden Brink proposed an initial one-time membership fee of $2,000-$4,000 with a request for a $1,000 down payment per hook-up for those interested in joining. The remaining $1,000-$3,000 for membership would be requested once a feasibility study is complete and the members decide to move forward with the creation of a rural water district. If service cannot be provided the full membership fee would be reimbursed. With membership would come a 5-year service guarantee once water service is available to the preferred location. After that a monthly minimum service fee of $119 per month would be necessary without securing any grant funding, but if grant funding is secured the service fee drops to $55 per month with a 46% grant. The monthly minimum does not include a specified quantity of water. Vanden Brink cautioned that the level of participation will determine fees and funding. The example used for the presentation was establishing water service to Rio Blanco County Road 2, with 30 participating property owners with an estimated total probable project cost of approximately $1,206,130. Besides the membership and user fees, project financing can be obtained by many sources including local, state and federal grants, as well as state and federal loans.
Moving the project forward, the Rio Blanco Water Conservancy District will hold more public meetings to identify public interest and primary service areas followed by identifying funding for a feasibility study (grants, membership commitments, etc.). A complete feasibility analysis would need to be completed and if found feasible and members vote in favor, Rio Blanco Water Conservancy District will create a Rural Water Enterprise. After that they will secure outstanding membership fees, secure project financing and begin the permitting and construction phase.
If you are interested in more information about the proposed creation of a rural water district or you would like to be notified of future meetings and project updates you can contact the Rio Blanco Water Conservancy District at 2252 East Main in Rangely, call 970-675-5055, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
By ROXIE FROMANG
Special to the Herald Times