P’burg water system could get boost | SteamboatToday.com

P’burg water system could get boost

Susan Cunningham

— The state is prepared to award more money to pay for improvements to Phippsburg’s water system as soon as Routt County officially requests the additional funds.

The Colorado Department for Local Affairs has indicated its willingness to increase grant funding from about $240,000 to $300,000, and offer a loan of up to $131,000 for the project, Routt County Commissioner Dan Ellison said. Cost of the improvements is estimated at more than $500,000.

“We have just run into more and more problems trying to get it done,” Ellison said. “I think the original charge that we had given the engineers was ‘let’s not go hog wild,’ so they did what looked to be necessary. But the longer you chewed on it, the bigger it got.”

The balance for the project likely will come from the district’s reserve funds, Zopf said. “We do have money in reserves,” he said. “We could make this work.”

The Department of Local Affairs also encouraged the county to raise residents’ water rates to the state’s average, but Zopf said that because rates recently were raised from $57 a quarter to $84 a quarter Jan. 1, it’s unlikely the rates will increase before 2005.

“We just raised rates 47 percent, and this community has a lot of retirees in it and a lot of people who are on fixed incomes,” Zopf said. “So we were very concerned about raising rates much beyond what they are right now.”

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Zopf would like to finish the project by July 30.

“I want to build this project this year,” he said. “Hopefully we can at least get (the filtration system) … built this fall.”

— To reach Susan Bacon, call 871-4203

or e-mail sbacon@steamboatpilot.com