The Importance of This PAWSD Election

By Dr. John Ramberg

The PAWSD Board election is scheduled for May 6.  You can obtain a form permitting you to cast an absentee ballot, from the PAWSD website or at their office at 100 Lyn Avenue.  If you forget to vote in advance, you can still vote on May 6 at the PAWSD office.  You are eligible to vote if you are a resident of the District, or if you own property in the District, and are a registered voter in Colorado.

Express your opinion on your outrageous water and wastewater fee increases.  Vote for a moratorium on future increases.  Vote for Gordon McIver and Paul Hansen.  A change in PAWSD management practices will require the election of both.  If elected, they will join Mike Church and Glenn Walsh to stop the “water-letting” practices at PAWSD.

The May 6 PAWSD election could have greater financial implications than did the recent Town election.  PAWSD collects over $2,000,000 in property taxes.  I had not realized the magnitude of my PAWSD tax, until I reviewed my property tax statement.  It was nearly as much as my annual water bill!

[incolumn]The Town of Pagosa Springs places bond issues before the public.  PAWSD does not!  When the citizenry is not permitted a vote, drastic financial consequences can result.  Only a few years ago, an arrogant PAWSD board sentenced us customers to a $10 million debt when they purchased the Weber Ranch in Dry Gulch.  Customers revolted by electing two new board members.  Fortunately, the new board stopped a plan to obtain bonds for an additional $90 million.

PAWSD raised their 2014 water and wastewater service fees to double that of comparable communities on the western slope.  It is time for another revolt.  It is time to replace the board member who championed the 2014 rate increase, after the board denied his proposal to raise charges by 30%.  It is time to replace a board member who denies the importance of PAWSD water loss of 40%, when it is ten times the AWWA standard.  It is time to replace a board member, who publically states that the cost to PAWSD of 1000 gallons of water is only 41 cents — while supporting a policy that charges customers $4.22 per 1000 gallons for water lost from leaks on the customer side of the meter.

The 41 cents value for PAWSD’s own leaks is wrong!  The $4.22 charge for customer leaks is immoral! As Colorado prepares its first comprehensive water plan, PAWSD should be a leader in this initiative, instead of denying the importance of their water loss.  The incumbent board member has resisted all attempts to accomplish this.

Two relatively unknown candidates are also on the ballot. One, Jennifer Burck, has not attended any PAWSD board meetings.

The other, David West, has exhibited his lack of knowledge of PAWSD and our community.  At the February PAWSD meeting, he asked, “What is Dry Gulch?”  At the April Tea Party meeting he made a futile attempt to downplay the magnitude of the $10 million debt for the purchase of the Dry Gulch property.

Candidates Paul Hansen and Gordon McIver are long time community residents.  They have the integrity, the credentials, and the desire necessary to serve on the PAWSD Board.  They will act in our behalf when elected.

Another Voter for Paul Hansen & Gordon McIver

By Dagmar Huffman

Ballots for the election of two board members for the Pagosa Area Water & Sanitation District (PAWSD) will be going out in early April and voters have a choice:

If you like your water rates — which are the highest in the Four Corners area — you can keep your high rates. If you like the approved plan to raise those rates another 18%, you can keep that plan. If you like the way the incumbent PAWSD Board President is spending those rates and nearly all of PAWSD reserves, you can keep the incumbent too.

But, if you’re like me and are disgusted that candidates for office make all sorts of promises they don’t keep and once in office have no trouble spending your hard earned dollars unnecessarily, then please join me and vote for Paul Hansen and Gordon McIver, two commonsense businessmen who understand the need to be tough on the PAWSD budget and easier on the customers’ budgets.

We have a chance to send a message to the board by not re-electing the incumbent, who first supported a 32% rate hike and then cast the deciding vote for an 18% increase in water rates over the next four years. The only two board members to vote against this increase were Glenn Walsh and Mike Church.

The incumbent also voted against requiring voter approval of any new bond measures and has stated that property tax limitations don’t “allow PAWSD to share in the prosperity of the community”.  Apparently the highest rates and the highest debt aren’t enough “prosperity” for him.

It is time for PAWSD to leave a little “prosperity” back in our community. We need to stop the insanity of re-electing people who don’t keep their promises and the water board is a good place to start. Please vote for Paul Hansen and Gordon McIver in this important election!

If you want further information about water rates or PAWSD, it is very easy, even for someone as technologically challenged as I am. Just Google water rates for different towns and you can see what their rates are and compare them for yourself.