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Ranchos board will hold special meeting to help Dresslerville family

by Merrie Leininger

The Gardnerville Ranchos General Improvement District board will hold a special meeting Tuesday to help a family that has been kept out of its home for months.

The board decided to hold the meeting after hearing Wednesday night negotiations are going well with the Washoe Tribe over sewer fees. The board heard an update from Manager Bob Spellberg and a proposed contract from Tribe attorney Tim Seward.

Board member Dewey Jay brought back up the Walker family’s situation and suggested the family should be able to connect sewer lines to their new home in Dresslerville. The Walkers, Melody and Waldo and their two daughters, Rachel, 12, and Rebecca, 10, have been living with Melody’s mom, Kathleen Hadley, in her two-bedroom Ranchos home since October.

Previously, the board voted not to allow any new hook-ups to the sewer line until a new contract is signed.

“I think this gentleman has waited long enough,” said board member Dennis Le Drew.

Waldo Walker told the board he would be willing to pay a $32 a month fee until the board and Tribe settle their dispute over the fees and sign a new contract.

The board will probably take action on contract language at the March meeting. It will meet Tuesday at 9 a.m. to vote on allowing the Walkers to hook up. The Ranchos board does not have the final say, however. Spellberg said a special meeting will have to be held by the Minden-Gardnerville Sanitation District.

n Proposal. Seward said the Tribe should not have to pay more than the cost of maintenance and amount of use by the Tribe members. Sewer lines on the colony were installed and are maintained by the Tribe. It uses a 1.4 mile span of line belonging to GRGID to transport effluent from the colony to the sanitation district. GRGID wants the Tribe to pay a $32 fee because Dresslerville is not part of the district.

He proposed rates of $6.28 per month or $15.03 per month, depending when a home was connected.

According to GRGID, the Tribe has a debt of more than $27,000 in out-of-district fees it has refused to pay since the fees increased in October 1999. In-district customers pay $11 or $19 per month depending on when they were connected. That is the rate the Tribe was asked to pay before October 1999. It continues to pay that amount.

GRGID contends that the Dresslerville colony is outside of the Ranchos borders, and so should have to pay the higher $32-a-month fee that all out-of-district customers pay. The board asked Spellberg Wednesday night to report at the next meeting justification for the higher out-of-district fees.

“I tried to take elements of the GID’s agreement with MGSD. It is extremely reasonable the Tribe pay any costs it directly causes GID to incur, so that’s in here,” Seward said. “It’s an amount a lot lower than the current out-of-district rate. What I’m proposing is our rates should be based on the cost to treat effluent and the maintenance of the line we use.”

He said the Tribe should not be held responsible for the cost of maintenance for lines throughout the Ranchos.

Seward said the Tribe is willing to vacuum the Tribe-managed sewer lines within the colony. GRGID wants the Tribe to vacuum the lines rather than flush them, which they say sends the blockages into the GRGID’s lines. Seward said the Tribe is willing to do that as often as the GRGID does using the same contractor.

Seward admits that the Tribe owes the district about $2,000 in fees it has not paid since the rate increase in October.

The board said it would look over the proposal and get recommendations from staff, then review at the issue again at the March meeting.