Board to look at Oak Creek water rates

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The Oak Creek Town Board will look into changing the town's water-rate schedule during its meeting tonight.

During the past several weeks, Town Board members have discussed the possibility of installing water meters at all homes and businesses to make equitable what residents and business owners pay for water. Currently, residents and businesses pay flat fees depending on where they fit in the water-rate schedule.

Several Oak Creek residents have said they should not pay the same amount for water as business owners or residents who use more water than they do.

At its last meeting, the Town Board determined that installing water meters throughout town would be too expensive. However, Town Board members emphasized that the water meter issue will be one they will continue to consider a priority.

In the meantime, the Town Board is exploring other options that might solve the water-rate issue.

Tonight, Mayor Kathy "Cargo" Rodeman said the Town Board will look into adding or changing some of the categories on the town's current water-rate schedule.

As it is written, the water-rate schedule includes a "restaurant without a bar" category that does not apply to any of the town's restaurants.

Rodeman is proposing to change that listing to "bar without a restaurant."

Rodeman said the final decision to make any changes to the schedule would be up to board members.

But until the town gets water meters, it would "open a can of worms" to change the rate schedules without any basis to do so, Rodeman said, adding that the town does not plan to raise water rates and that any changes would be an attempt to make water billing more fair for everybody.

"We're just trying to even it out a little since this is the last time we can visit the issue," she said.

In other business, the Town Board will consider accepting preliminary improvements completed at the Sierra View subdivision.

The resolution also will lower the subdivision's commitment guarantee from $811,000 to about $218,900. That money would remain as a retainer for the town to complete any items not finished by the developers.

Rodeman said the subdivision is not 100 percent complete and that there still is additional paving to be done in the spring, as well as some landscaping work and other improvements.

Police Chief Linda Koile will request that the town retain impounded dogs for two days instead of transporting them to the Steamboat Springs Animal Shelter, Rodeman said.

Koile thinks that by housing the dogs for two days, the town can save money on fuel costs by eliminating the trips to Steamboat. If the dogs' owners have not picked up their pets after two days, the dogs would be taken to Steamboat.

Most dogs are retrieved within two days, and Koile thinks the town would benefit from keeping the dogs if it charged $30 a day to house the animals, Rodeman said.

"The savings are going to be to us," she said.

Rodeman said residents should purchase dog tags from the town for their animals because officers would rather take a dog home than drive it to Steamboat. The dog tags cost about $3.

-- To reach Alexis DeLaCruz, call 871-4234

or e-mail adelacruz@steamboatpilot.com

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