Voting to close sewer district is to save $60 per household
The Central Grand Valley Sanitation District is prepared to go extinct, but it needs voters, who stand to save about $60 a year per household, to administer the coup de grace on Nov. 6.
If voters approve, the district will dissolve on Dec. 31 and its system will be taken over by Grand Junction.
Founded in 1969 when the Fruitvale and Pear Park area it serves was far removed from Grand Junction proper. Central Grand Valley now serves 27,000 people from 9,000 taps.
Most customers won’t even notice a change if the district dissolves. Grand Junction already mails out the bills and processes them and the system itself feeds into the Grand Junction-operated Persigo Wastewater Treatment Plant.
Central Grand Valley has completed an upgrade of its pipes and it has little left to do.
“We took care of the system and spent the money, so now it’s time for the district to dissolve,” said Larry Beckner, the Grand Junction attorney for Central Grand Valley.
The worry, however, is that voters might see dissolving the district as a step towards annexation by Grand Junction,
“Our biggest concern is the annexation issue,” General Manager Lori Coslett said. “And it’s just not real.”
About half of the district already has been annexed into Grand Junction, Beckner said, and the other part is in unincorporated territory, just as was the case when the district was founded.
Many of the people who will decide whether Central Grand Valley Sanitation dissolves are likely unaware that there is even such a thing, Coslett said, even though the sanitation bills they pay contain a note that customers are paying money to the district and the city.
That poses a worry that the voters might not vote to dissolve the district because many voters default to a no vote when they don’t understand the question, Beckner said.
Voters have a financial incentive to favor dissolution because it will eliminate $4.92 a month tacked onto their bills for the district, but Coslett said she doesn’t know if voters will make that connection.
Dissolution also could spark some new development because the district’s $2,350 tap fee will disappear with it.
Before the economic slowdown, 51 projects were being planned within the district boundaries.
Eliminating the district will result in the loss of a single job — Coslett’s — but some contract workers, such as Beckner and the people who clean the district’s lines, will lose some business.
The impending loss of her job is no surprise, Coslett said.
“I took the job a few weeks after the agreement was signed” calling for the dissolution of the district, she said.
The agreement is one signed among Central Grand Valley, Fruitvale and Orchard Mesa sanitation districts and the city of Grand Junction in 2004.
The Fruitvale district no longer exists, its voters having approved its extinguishment.
Orchard Mesa is next on the block.
Central Grand Valley has done its job, Beckner said, and when it comes to voting to dissolve it, “We don’t know of any reason not to do this.”