Johnson Lane residents hear sewer plans |

Johnson Lane residents hear sewer plans

Michael Schneider

A large and angry crowd gathered to hear plans for a capitol improvements program for the Stephanie Way and Johnson Lane areas Wednesday night at Pinon Hills Elementary School.

County Manager Dan Holler, Ronald Roman of community development and Dean Day of Walters Engineering participated in the presentation of a report on a study of the groundwater in the area, but the residents who attended the meeting had something else on their mind.

“How soon will we be required to hook up, or will we be able to be left alone?” asked one resident, echoing the sentiments of many others.

“I think some of these questions are getting out of my area of expertise,” said Day.

Director of community development Bob Nunes then said, “We’ll answer those questions later.”

When Day was finished with his presentation, Nunes took over to answer questions.

“We have no plan to force anyone to connect to the water system, period,” said Nunes.

One resident then stood up and asked Nunes to put that statement in blood.

Nunes said he wouldn’t have a problem with the resident’s request, but the speaker had to realize that water and sewer were two different systems.

Holler said the county and the residents may not have a choice as far as hooking into the sewer system.

“The state will say, ‘Hook up or you can’t use your water system,'” said Holler. “The sewer system is more critical. You will have to hook up, probably. It may be one year, two years or five years, but I think the state Department of Health will come in and require it in a short period of time.”

Residents then asked what the monthly costs would be once they are hooked into the sewer system.

Holler said rates will be high and will also go up for those residents in the area who are already hooked up to a sewer system.

“The Ranchos water is cheaper because they have more customers in a denser area,” said Holler. “Our biggest problem is a small customer base over a large area.

“We can’t build it for the 300 customers we have now but must build it for the 1,200 we will have.”

No resolution was reached at the meeting as it was simply for information purposes only. Holler said there will be another meeting when there is new information on the CIP.

“We’re trying to get input up front rather than doing it, then telling you,” said Holler. “Hopefully, you’ll get a good product that way.”