Photo by John F. Russell
The four finalists for the vacant Steamboat Springs City Council seat gathered in Centennial Hall on Monday. They are, clockwise from lower left, Kathi Meyer, Bart Kounovsky, Cedar Beauregard and Rich Levy. Council members will appoint one of the finalists tonight. That person will help take on several upcoming, challenging tasks including the city’s 2011 budget, proposed water and wastewater rate increases and the refinancing of millions of dollars for redevelopment work at the base of Steamboat Ski Area.
- Tuesday, August 3, 2010, 4 p.m.
- Centennial Hall, 124 10th St., Steamboat Springs
If you go
What: Steamboat Springs City Council meeting
When: 4 p.m. today
Where: Centennial Hall, 124 10th St.
Contact: Call City Hall at 970-879-2060 or visit www.steamboatsprings.net for more information.
■ 4 p.m. Interviews of four finalists for the vacant City Council seat. Each interview is 30 minutes. All take place in the Crawford Room in Centennial Hall.
■ 6:15 p.m. City Council meets as the Steamboat Springs Liquor License Authority to hold a public hearing about a proposed license for Kyteler’s Irish Pub in Wildhorse Marketplace.
■ 6:20 p.m. Reconvene as City Council; presentation of Bike Town USA efforts, including request for $18,000 of city funding; discussion of leash-free areas for dogs in some local parks; presentation of 2010 Water and Wastewater Rate and Fee Study by Red Oak Consulting
■ 7 p.m. Public comment; discussion of proposed grant applications and city contributions for ski jump and lighting improvements at Howelsen Hill; discussion of options for refinancing of at least $17.5 million for redevelopment work at the base of Steamboat Ski Area
Steamboat Springs One of the four people vying for the vacant Steamboat Springs City Council seat will earn an appointment tonight in Centennial Hall and soon dive into issues including significant water and sewer rate increases that could take effect next year.
After a 30-minute interview with each finalist, City Council members tonight will select their new colleague from among Bart Kounovsky, chief operating officer of Colorado Group Realty, and three members of the Steamboat Springs Planning Commission — Cedar Beauregard, Rich Levy and Kathi Meyer. Beauregard owns a residential construction company; Levy is a self-employed massage therapist; and Meyer is retired after holding senior executive positions at several banks and financial institutions.
Steamboat’s city charter requires the council to appoint a candidate tonight, but Steamboat Springs City Council President Cari Hermacinski has said the new member likely won’t begin service until the council’s next meeting, Sept. 7.
That meeting could include the first reading of an ordinance to implement the new water and sewer rates. A second and final reading could occur Sept. 21.
City Council will take its first public look tonight, however, at Red Oak Consulting’s recommended, multiyear water and wastewater rate increases for city residents and businesses.
The rate increases through 2019 and higher tap fees for new construction would fund, Red Oak states, more than $70 million worth of water and wastewater improvement projects including new infrastructure on the city’s west side and repairs to, or replacements of, aging sewer pipes through Steamboat Springs’ downtown core.
Red Oak is a division of the national environmental engineering firm Malcolm Pirnie. City officials hired Red Oak to assess its water and wastewater needs, costs and financing options as Steamboat Springs faces aging pipes that are nearing or at capacity — from Fetcher Pond through downtown to West Lincoln Park, for example — along with development at the base of Steamboat Ski Area and other potential growth in coming years.
Red Oak’s draft report states the typical residential water bill — for a single-family home that uses 7,000 gallons of water per month — would increase 14 percent in 2011, from the current $28.43 to $32.41. Water bill rates would continue to increase for the next eight years, reaching $61.56 per month for the typical home in 2019.
Monthly wastewater rates would increase 13 percent in 2011, the report states, from the current $26.88 to $30.37. Wastewater bills for a typical residential home would reach $50.73 per month in 2019.
One-time tap fees for new residential construction, including water and wastewater, could nearly double, increasing from $7,435 to $14,190, an increase of $6,755.
Wholesale water costs for the Steamboat II subdivision could increase nearly 200 percent by 2013, reaching more than $130,000 that year.
City Manager Jon Roberts said commercial increases are harder to quantify given the vast variety in water usage by a restaurant and an office, for example. But the city’s monthly service charge for commercial water use would increase from $19.50 to $32.70 by 2013, Red Oak states, along with increases in commercial volume rates and wastewater costs.
Roberts emphasized that Red Oak’s study is analytical in nature.
“It’s just a mathematical model. It doesn’t really have any opinion or bias in there, or consideration of economic times or impacts on the residents,” Roberts said. “Those kind of discussions still need to occur — about the appropriateness of rate increases and what their impacts are.”
Roberts said city officials are exploring ways to lessen the financial impact on residents and businesses. Possibilities include state grants, low interest rate loans from the state, or delaying some of the work.
The city’s water and wastewater fund is an enterprise fund that is separate from the city’s general fund.
City Public Works Director Philo Shelton said delaying work likely is not a cost-effective solution in the long run.
“As you postpone (improvement work), it gets more expensive as you go down the road,” he said. “Instead of a repair and replacement, you might have to go to a whole new system.”
Also on tonight’s City Council agenda is discussion of how to refinance the $17.5 million used for ongoing redevelopment work at the base of Steamboat Ski Area. Interim city Finance Director Deb Hinsvark, whose contract has been extended through the end of the year, said staff is asking City Council for direction on essentially two options: refinance the existing $17.5 million of redevelopment funds, which likely would extend base area work throughout the next several years; or sell municipal bonds backed by the city, through the Steamboat Springs Redevelopment Authority, to increase the financing package to about $21 million and enable completion next summer of all work on a public promenade and the daylighting of Burgess Creek.