Economic conditions to benefit Cuchara District

by Carol Dunn

CUCHARA- The stressed economy may have worked to the benefit of the Cucharas Sanitation and Water District, as it accepted bids to complete the water and sewer hookups in the Pine Haven subdivision.  At its June 13 meeting, the Board heard from Dave Frisch, GMS Engineering, about the bids received.  According to Frisch, the bids were lower than expected because the industry has been very competitive.  “People need work,” he said.  The lowest of five bids to complete sewer and water on the upper and lower portions of Pine Haven was from A&R Construction, Pueblo, at $517,788.21.  Director Bob White spoke directly to the Pine Haven homeowners’ association president and two other residents who were in attendance, “We want to make sure the Pine Haven residents are ok with us farming this out, because we did promise to do the work with our personnel.” 

     With the bids coming in under budget, the Board was unanimous in the opinion that this would be a better plan and would still save the District money.  The residents who were at the meeting concurred.  According to Leon Skaggs, Board Chair, “We may be able to finish the entire subdivision in one more year.”  Work is expected to begin about July 8.  The water and sewer system improvements will be funded by a variety of sources, including grants, loans and local matching funds.

    The Board also heard from La Veta Mayor Mickey Schmidt about the Town’s water court case #00CW130, which was filed in 2000.  CSWD has been an objector in the case, and Mayor Schmidt asked if the District would consider withdrawing its opposition.  “We don’t see that your District will be harmed,” he said.  Typically, users on a creek or ditch will become opposers in order to stay informed as the case progresses.  There are five other opposers in the case.  At issue is really the consumptive use factor which will be used.  The Town purchased two c.f.s. of low priority #14 water on the Mexican Ditch, with the ultimate goal of having 170 acre-feet of storable water for residential use.  The Board of Trustees wants to use a historical consumptive use factor (CUF), but the Town may be forced to pay for engineering to establish a CUF unique to this case.  As Mayor Schmidt put it, since uses have not significantly changed in the area, “The engineers will probably come up with the same factor.”  The District Board decided to consult its attorney about the matter.  The case is scheduled for trial in January, 2009.

    Bob Northup, General Manager, reported that the July water bills will be mailed about ten days late because the District is changing over to a new billing software program.  The next meeting is July 11.