PUEBLO — Pueblo West Metro District needs to make changes if they want to continue supplying water to residents.
On Monday evening, a public hearing was held for residents to voice their concerns over a potential service fee increase for the Metro District to keep up with rising costs.
"We have an independent contractor that has looked at our current fee structure, and then is also assessing the future needs that we would need to continue with costs and supplies... And so that may mean water rights, how much it does cost, fee structures for sewer, water taps, etc. just to continue to supplying Pueblo West, and more importantly look at the future," said Samantha Dosen with the Pueblo West Metro District.
An independent contractor found that Pueblo West could expend all of their current money for supply water by 2023, saying the Metro District only has enough money to supply water for roughly 400 more homes to be built in the area if they do not come up with more money.
The independent contractor proposed three options that would allow the Metro District to bring in more money. One option charges a 20% increase to the current residents for their water service fee in 2022.
"Utilities just keep going up and up and up," said Melvin Manrose, one Homeowner in Pueblo West.
"There's a lot of senior citizens that live in Pueblo West. A lot of senior citizens are on fixed income and it makes it a real problem," said Manrose.
The assessment is based on the expected growth in Pueblo West. However, some current residents in the public hearing said they do not believe they should be required to pay for more people moving to the district.
The other two proposals from the independent contractor include purchase water from Twin Lakes, if it is available. One share of twin lakes water costs $55,000 and is enough to serve 1 acre foot. In this scenario, a Water Resource Fee (WRF) of $26,400 would be imposed on each residential home.
The other proposal only impacts new builders. As of now, new home builders are charged a total of $17,886 in combined Water and Wastewater Plant Investment Fees. The new proposal suggests adding a Water Resource Fee to new builders' charges, bringing their total amount in fees to $35,290.
Ultimately, a decision will be made by the Board of Directors on which proposal they feel is the best answer for the community. The public will not vote on the issue.