The residents of Spanish Valley in San Juan County, not SITLA, need to control the development of the new water and sewer system. What is good for SITLA and the San Juan County commissioners may not be good for the citizens. I have watched Grand County’s water board, GWSSA, for over 15 years, and conflicts of interest have often been a problem.
1. The water board needs to be elected by the citizens and not appointed by the San Juan County commissioners. GWSSA’s board is now an elected board. The San Juan County commissioners can choose to have the board elected by the residents in the water district.
2. The proposed charge of $85 per month is almost twice the basic fee for water and sewer charged by GWSSA in Grand County. SITLA’s proposal to pay only 20 percent of the costs of the water and sewer project and requiring the residents to pay an equal amount at $85 per month needs to be protested by county residents. The San Juan County water board needs to publish a fee schedule for residential and commercial water that forces SITLA to pay its fair share. GWSSA in Grand County charges commercial users twice as much for water as it charges for water used in homes. SITLA is the largest landowner in southern Spanish Valley and will receive the most benefit from a water and sewer system. The water board should not be allowed to give SITLA low water rates at the expense of the residents in the valley.
3. GWSSA spent millions of dollars on infrastructure for its water and sewer system before drilling for water. It was $300,000 over budget after drilling four wells instead of one. Hopefully, San Juan County will not make the same mistake.
The residents of the area need to watch their water board and SITLA very carefully. What is good for developers and SITLA may be disaster for the current residents.