Item 2C on the Nov. 5 ballot is the adoption of Article15 of the City Charter to form a Water Authority which would encompass the existing city and Mt. Werner Water and Sanitation functions, providing that the Mt. Werner patrons also pass a dissolution election which will be scheduled after the first of the year, should 2C pass.
There has been much written about this consolidation, some of which has been negative, and I hope that I can shed some light on this issue, which should be a "no brainer."
First of all, this Article separates the growth issues, which still will be within the purview of City Council, from the operation issues which will go with the Water Authority.
The council will have the say so as to where water will go; the authority will have the say so as to how the service will be provided.
So the question of whether the Authority Board is appointed or elected is not a particularly significant one.
There is no entity enabled by the charter, other than the City Council, which is elected. It is true that for the first year the Authority Board will consist of three members appointed by the City Council and four by the existing Mt. Werner Board, but after the first year all subsequent members will be appointed by the City Council, so the majority, after the first year, will have been appointed by the City.
The rates in the two entities are different. This has to do with the age of the two systems. It is the stated intention to equalize rates as soon as it is practical.
If the consolidation does not occur, rate equalization will not occur. In fact, if consolidation does not occur, the City rates will stay the same, as of the first of the year. It is the cost savings of the consolidation which will allow city rates to stay the same, as of the first of the year.
As a member of the City Council I have supported this, and as a private citizen I support this. It is the right thing for the community.
Don't dwell on the past, look at the future. If consolidation does not occur, Mt. Werner Water and Sanitation District will continue to exist and provide services to its customers at a lower rate than the City.
If consolidation does occur a single entity will provide water and waste water services to the community.
Obviously the rates will start out differently for the two parts (as they are now) but those differences will diminish and in a relatively short time rates will be equalized.
In my mind, it doesn't make sense for there to be two water entities and this consolidation is the way to make one out of the two.
G.H. "Bud" Romberg
A simpler way
Having read the 16-page water consolidation proposal several times, it seems to me that there must be a simpler way to consolidate the water and sewer providers than by amendment to our home rule charter.
I found that over the last few years, at least three other water districts East Steamboat, Riverside and Fish Creek have dissolved and now have water and sewer service provided by the city.
Why can't Mount Werner Water District do the same?
I feel that in the interest of fairness that all water users in the city should pay the same monthly fee in their category and that all board members should live in the city.
If you, as an informed voter, agree with any of the above statements then remember to vote "no" on referendum 2C.
The right choice
In 1966, Colorado voters abolished partisan elections for judges and established a merit selection system for the nomination, appointment and retention of judges and justices in the state court system.
Under this system, merit is considered by examining factors such as legal training and background, judicial temperament, intellectual ability, neutrality, fairness, and capability for upholding the law.
Our judges represent our communities as well as reflect the priorities our communities have established.
The role our judges play extend well beyond the bench itself. The foundation they provide gives the community stability, reassurance, a sense of security and a confidence that justice will be served.
Judicial Performance Commissions were created in 1988 by the Colorado General Assembly to provide voters with fair, responsible and constructive evaluations of trial judges seeking retention. The evaluations also provide judges with information that can be used to improve their professional skills.
The 14th Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance is composed of six nonlawyers and four lawyers, with members from Moffat, Grand, and Routt counties.
Evaluations are based upon questionnaires completed by attorneys, jurors, litigants, court personnel, probation officers, caseworkers, crime victims and law enforcement personnel. The evaluations also include relevant docket statistics; a personal interview with the judge; a self-evaluation completed by the judge; and information from other appropriate sources, such as court observations, public hearings and documentation received from interested parties.
The 14th Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance recommends the following:
Judge Joel S. Thompson DO NOT RETAIN
Judge Mary Lynne James RETAIN
Judge James H. Garrecht RETAIN
The results of our evaluations are available in the legislative service's "Blue Book" mailed to voters and on the Web at www.courts.state.co.us and www.cobar.org.
The members of our commission encourage you to be an educated voter. Please take time to review the information available.
John R. Ponikvar
14th Judicial Performance Commission Member