Steamboat Springs resident Maxine Ohman, left, listens to Steamboat Springs City Council President Cari Hermacinski answer questions during a public meeting at the Steamboat Springs Community Center on Monday. Hermacinski discussed the potential increase of water rates in the city as well as other local issues.

Photo by Scott Franz

Steamboat Springs resident Maxine Ohman, left, listens to Steamboat Springs City Council President Cari Hermacinski answer questions during a public meeting at the Steamboat Springs Community Center on Monday. Hermacinski discussed the potential increase of water rates in the city as well as other local issues.

Hermacinski discusses Steamboat issues at meeting

City Council president answers questions about water rates, more

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Steamboat Springs City Council President Cari Hermacinski answers questions during a public meeting at the Steamboat Springs Community Center on Monday. Hermacinski discussed the potential increase of water rates in the city as well as other local issues.

— Steamboat Springs City Cou­ncil President Cari Herm­acinski didn’t have a hard time finding a hand to call on at the Steamboat Springs Community Center on Monday. Steamboat seniors ask­ed Hermacinski a variety of questions about issues ranging from potential water rate increases to the reasoning behind the council’s selection of its newest member.

“There was a lot of consensus for Bart,” Hermacinski told audience members gathered at the Routt County Council on Aging meeting, referring to new council member Bart Kounovsky. “Someone with his type of financial background will be very beneficial to the city.”

Kounovsky, the chief operating officer of Colorado Group Realty, was selected last week to be the council’s newest member. Hermacinski said the council is deliberating on a number of important issues and said she was excited to get feedback from the community.

When asked about potential increases to the city’s water rates, Hermacinski told the audience the council was not taking the decision lightly.

“There was no enthusiasm from any of the members of the council surrounding water rate increases,” she said. “What a horrible time it is to be considering this. But to sustain our water funding, something has to be done.”

Hermacinski told the audience that she thinks modest water users should be rewarded monetarily for their low usage and that decisions about water rate increases would be made after the council has more time to meet and discuss alternatives. She said the council is considering several options besides rate increases, including one that would delay any increase until after the economic outlook in the city had time to improve.

Other residents asked questions that required simpler answers. Steamboat resident Nathalie Smith was concerned about the lack of crosswalk signage along some intersections of the Yampa River Core Trail. She told Hermacinski that she has witnessed several near-collisions between cyclists and cars near Fifth Street downtown.

“I need to know who to contact to request these signs,” Smith told Hermacinski. “We need to attract cyclists and tourists and get clarifications of the rules at these intersections.”

Hermacinski told Smith she could contact Philo Shelton, Steamboat’s director of public works, to request signage for potentially unsafe intersections.

Comments

dave reynolds 3 years, 8 months ago

great another real estate puke..ask yourself this why would a " land merchant" want to be on city council..

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housepoor 3 years, 8 months ago

not to mention best friends with another city council member......do you think they talk shop hanging out?will be interesting if they ever will vote oppisite of another so much for replacing Jim with somone similar to the person who the people voted in!!!!!

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George Danellis 3 years, 8 months ago

Thanks to the City Council President for actively engaging the senior community in this way. Our elders deserve this attention and should also be recognized as an invaluable source of wisdom.

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freerider 3 years, 8 months ago

well I'm for signage , unless I'm at work , but if I'm at home I'm against signage , unless I'm a city council member them I'm for signage , unless I'm at home then I'm against signage ....unless all the other council members are for it then I'm against it...

If they are against it then I'm for it , unless I change my mind ....maybe we need a study or a survey ...

Can we vote on the 700 club again , I'm against that , but I think it would be good for the community , unless they don't want it ...then I'm for it , should we hire Sarah Palin for a photo shoot ..???

Oh I would fit right in with city council for some ground breaking work ....we could talk about knitting patterns and crop circles ...and hire some more out of work realtors

If I ran the zoo , oh the things I could do

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Steve Lewis 3 years, 8 months ago

I appreciate that Cari is explaining the water rate hike at this meeting with seniors. I've asked that the next council hearing on this item present some written material explaining the rate hike to City constituents. I have these concerns that I am asking City staff to address in that material:

The Pilot Sunday editorial raises the opposite of my own concern, when it says tap fees funded operating costs. My concern is that operations and maintenance revenue (our water rates) should not be used to install larger pipes to accommodate development - tap fees should pay for that.

If the tap fee fund has been used to pay for operating costs, the city's books should show that $$ transfer.

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Steve Lewis 3 years, 8 months ago

As I understand it, a few pipes will be upsized by using water rates because that is the only money available, and, much later, tap fees will backfill the operating fund for that expense. The city's books should show all this accurately. I don't mind this quid pro quo, provided the different obligations are balanced in the end.

Certainly any pipes that are getting upsized should be moved from their current budget line as "non-growth related" costs to the "growth related" costs column. Or the rationale against that should be explained. In this regard, the current expenditure proposal is not correct in my opinion.

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Steve Lewis 3 years, 8 months ago

Another problem with the current proposal is that, roughly speaking, water rates between 2007 and 2019 will rise by about 3x while tap fees in the same time frame will rise by 2x.

The City should explain the rationale for that large difference between tap fee growth and water rate growth in their proposal.

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