Thanks, South Routt

I am writing this letter to express my appreciation for the whole South Routt community. Some of you deserve many thanks for allowing me to learn and grow as a person and teacher within your town.

The students of South Routt that I have had the opportunity to facilitate in the past two years have been a great inspiration to me. ALL of you have allowed me to follow my dream as a teacher and pursue my goal as an educator of the future. Yes, even some of you that were a challenge. Thanks. Don't ever forget to follow your dreams.

To my colleagues, thanks for all the help with my first-ever teaching experience. I would also like to thank my mentor, Mr. Binz, for all his professional advice throughout my short stay.

I would also take this opportunity to thank the parents that I had a chance to meet and work with. Keep up the good work. One last thanks goes to the Soroco Falcons, head coach Jeff Ericson, with their trust in me to be their assistant football coach for two years.

Michael Burnett (Mr. B)

South Routt

Presenting the facts

We are speaking as lead negotiators for the city of Steamboat Springs and the Mount Werner Water District concerning the consolidation of the two districts.

Recent articles and letters in the Pilot & Today have prompted us to write to you in order to set the record straight regarding the proposed creation of a Steamboat Springs Water Authority. We believe that an independent water authority is an idea whose time is long overdue.

Opponents of the agreement to create the water authority have raised several objections to which we wish to respond.

Without consolidation there will never be uniformity of rates. With consolidation, the opportunity is there to achieve equalization. Without consolidation, the city will need to implement an immediate rate increase that was recommended by the 2001 rate study. With consolidation, the need to implement a city rate increase will undoubtedly be avoided.

In revising the 1999 agreement, which was then close to approval by both Mount Werner Water and the city, we took great care to ensure the water authority would be responsible only for water and wastewater services. Only the City Council would be responsible for planning and growth decisions. The authority would have final say only in matters that are based on the best engineering practices of water filtration and distribution and wastewater collection and treatment. The authority would also decide what the impacts of a proposed development or addition would be on its physical plant and whether it could be served.

Within these defined limits, an independent water authority should have the power to carry out its duties free from the changing winds of politics while maintaining accountability to the council and public. By 2004, the majority of the board would have been appointed by the council.

In regard to rate changes, it is our intention that before any rate changes be implemented, a rate study deem the change necessary. Accordingly, we have agreed to clarify the agreement by stating "any change in the rates for service charges for water and wastewater services of the authority within the city must be substantiated with economic justification and analysis, such as by a rate study."

There are other objections and some have raised legitimate questions concerning the language in the contract. Some of it needs to be clarified and we are committed to doing just that. Since the last City Council meeting, we have met on three occasions to revise the agreement in response to these concerns.

Though the authority will be created with two different rate structures in place, it will remain the goal of the authority to maintain service charges for each district at the lowest possible levels while striving toward the future attainment of rate equalization.

The agreement is modeled after the Denver Water Board, which has a proven history of successful operation. We believe a Steamboat Springs Water Authority will provide our entire community with dedicated, professional management and service in the most efficient way possible. Consolidation is vital to our future and will provide residents with the best water and wastewater services for the lowest possible cost.

Kathy Connell

President, City Council

John Fetcher

Former manager,

Mount Werner Water


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