Jim Engelken: Missing facts

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With regard to the story published in Sunday's Steamboat Pilot & Today on the Steamboat Springs Water Commission, I think you missed the story.

The story is that city water customers pay twice as much for sewer service as Mount Werner Water District customers and one of the reasons is because for 23 years, and continuing today, city customers have paid for a service for which the district collected the fees. This is not just someone's opinion, it is fact. Other facts that were missed in your story include:

The city manager provided to the Water Commission a written estimate that the Mount Werner Water District owes the city $267,970.

The City Council has yet to ask the city manager to fix the problem or collect the money.

Other than Councilmember Steve Ivancie's report Tuesday night, the council has never discussed this issue, despite that the problem was discovered at least six weeks ago.

Consider the following legal dispute, which has never been reported by the Steamboat Pilot & Today:

When the Fish Creek Water District dissolved in 1995, the city took over the district's assets. One of those assets was an agreement between Fish Creek and Mount Werner allowing Fish Creek to use a Mount Werner waterline to serve the Anglers Retreat area.

In 2001, attorney Tom Sharp -- the former president of the Fish Creek Water District -- filed a motion with the district court that presided over the dissolution of the Fish Creek district arguing that the contract between Fish Creek and Mount Werner should have been dissolved when the Fish Creek district was dissolved. In essence, Sharp is trying to force the city to negotiate a new agreement more favorable to Mount Werner. It should be noted that Tom Sharp usually serves as the attorney for the Mount Werner Water District. In this case, he stepped aside, and Bob Weiss is representing Mount Werner's interests.

The point is, when a dispute between the district and the city arises that benefits the district, the district goes to court. When a dispute arises that would benefit the city, the district starts looking for reasons to ignore it. Hence, this irrelevant article on looking at the past.

Jim Engelken

Steamboat Springs

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