City, Steamboat II in water battle

If negotiations cease, court hearing may be held

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— The city of Steamboat Springs could be going to court Wednesday in hopes of collecting more than $400,000 in fees from the Steamboat II Metropolitan District.

The city claims the Water and Sanitation District owes them $168,423 in wastewater tap fees, $220,296 in water tap fees and $14,000 for the district's share of debt service.

The city is asking that Routt County not issue building permits for Steamboat II until the district obtains the capacity to meet the water and wastewater needs from new development.

City Attorney Tony Lettunich said negotiations are continuing with Steamboat II, but the two entities could still go to a court hearing if the differences are not resolved.

The case is scheduled for 9 a.m. Wednesday.

Lettunich said the city would like to start receiving tap fees from Steamboat II when developers apply for building permits.

The city filed the lawsuit at the end of July and claims it has not received any payment for water or wastewater tap fees since Jan. 1, 2000. During that time, the city claims Steamboat II has approved 60 building permits.

In the legal brief filed at the courthouse, the city states that Steamboat II has not collected adequate tap fees to pay for the capital cost of the wastewater treatment plant expansion, and it has also not paid the city the tap fees it has collected.

The city estimates tap fees coming from Steamboat II for wastewater treatment should equal $168,423, but the district has collected only $44,827.

A disparity also exists between the money Steamboat II brought in for water tap fees $158,366 and the amount the city said is owed, which is $220,296.

Lettunich said he does not know why Steamboat II has not paid the tap fees since Jan. 1. Steamboat II District Manager Doug Baker could not be reached for comment.

The city claims Steamboat II relies entirely on city facilities for wastewater treatment and the Silver Spur subdivision relies entirely on city water. But the city claims Steamboat II continues to approve development in its Sliver Spur subdivision without entitlement to the use of city water.

The city cannot disconnect the water and sewer lines from residences that have tapped into the system after 2000 because it would disconnect services to homes the city is legally required to serve.

However, the city can ask the county to stop issuing building permits for Steamboat II.

County Chief Building Officer Mark Marchus believes that not issuing building permits to subdivisions in Steamboat II would seriously and negatively affect lot owners.

It could also prevent lot owners from building on undeveloped lots.

Owners on already-developed lots would not be able to get permits for accessory structures such as garages or for remodeling existing buildings.

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