Steamboat Springs Residents of the Meadowgreen subdivision in Stagecoach will vote in this year's election on whether they want to construct a sewer and water system and pay for the system through county-issued bonds.
The Routt County Board of Commissioners approved on Tuesday a resolution to put the question on the ballot. Only residents of the subdivision will vote on the issue. The commissioners made the somewhat controversial decision to list the project at $1.82 million in the ballot question, higher than what consultants estimated the basic improvements would cost.
The cost of the project, as estimated by Civil Design Consul-tants, would be about $1.65 million. Property owners would pay between $23,000 and $40,000 per lot for the improvements.
Commissioners chose to in-crease the estimated price, which will be presented on the November ballot, to about $1.82 million to account for installation of paved roads.
Whether to pave the road to the treatment plant presented a conflict because of its additional cost. But commissioners learned that without paving the road, the dust created from traffic could be unmanageable.
And, because the Meadow-green area is a high-density subdivision, it is required to have paved roads under county subdivision regulations, Routt County attorney John Merrill said.
Denver attorney Dan Lynch, who is representing the property owners, said that raising the total cost to more than $1.65 million could end up killing the project.
Under a local improvement district, subdivision property owners can elect to make expensive infrastructure improvements funded
by county-issued bonds. Each property owner would then pay the county back according to the benefit they receive from the improvements.
Before commissioners could approve the resolution, Meadow-green property owners had to bring a petition to the board showing that owners of lots that would pay for at least half of the improvements had approves the proposal.
Mark Dernay was one resident who did not sign the petition. During the public comment portion of the meeting, Dernay said that he could end up paying $100,000 for the improvements because he owns three lots.
All of that would be money wasted, he said, because his home already is built and has its own water, sewer and electric supply.
"Why should I want to spend an additional ... $100,000," Dernay said. "I can't afford that."
Even if the project is approved by voters, Dernay might not have to pay that much, as there will be a hearing in which the commissioners decide how much each property owner should pay for the project.
Tuesday's action was the first time commissioners have used a new policy regulating local improvement districts. They said they expect to see more applications for similar districts.
"We will see more and more of these," Routt County Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak said. "Because of that, to me, it's crucial that we do this right."
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