County will proceed with rate studies |

County will proceed with rate studies

by Andy Bourelle

Douglas County Community Development will proceed with rate studies for capital improvement project plans for the Genoa/Sierra Shadows and Ridgeview water service areas.

In agreeing to let community development proceed at their Feb. 12 meeting, county commissioners urged staff members to keep the communities involved.

“We’ve been in a situation several times recently, where people come forward and say, ‘I knew nothing about this,'” said Commissioner Kelly Kite.

The CIP plans are part of a larger project that began in 1996, where community development is looking at all of the county’s water systems and identifying needs and deficiencies. The Mountain View/Airport system was the first of the systems looked at. The controversial Johnson Lane water tank many residents were opposed to was one part of that system’s CIP.

Associate Civil Engineer Craig McNeil said community development was already closely communicating with residents using the two systems now being looked at.

“We plan on making this a continuing process as we go forward with the rate study, to keep open communication with the communities,” McNeil said, “so we don’t have any problems like we have in the past with CIPs.”

County commissioners agreed to adopt the maps of the two systems and adopted the CIPs for preliminary use in the rate studies. The board also directed community development to investigate two different rate scenarios. First, community development would look at “operations and maintenance” and “repair and replacement” issues. Second, staff would look at rates that would be required to complete all of the components of the CIP plans.

Depending on what the rate study revealed, McNeil said, the CIP plans could be changed to suit the rates.

A rate study draft report and public meetings on the rate study are planned for April. The rate study final report is expected to be ready by May.

Kite said he talked recently with members of the Indian Hills General Improvement District, who had an alternative plan for the Ridgeview water system.

“I’m not in the engineering business, I’m not in the water business,” Kite said. “But what they said made sense and I’d like to give it a try.”

He said he would like them to have the opportunity to discuss the plan with community development. McNeil said it would not be a problem.

“I don’t want to hold up the process,” Kite said. “I just want to see the opportunity for ratepayers to save some money.”

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