Residents being asked to vote on increased taxes for Castle Pines water infrastructure

Posted at 7:38 PM, May 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-01 21:57:07-04

CASTLE PINES, Colo. — The debate over how to sustain renewable water is boiling over in Castle Pines.

The Castle Pines North Metropolitan District is asking voters to consider an increase to the district’s mill levy to pay for debt it would acquire for water infrastructure.

Jim Nikkel with CPNMD told Denver7 money would go to help pay for expansion at Chatfield. This would allow water to be stored at Chatfield for area water providers.

Currently, Chatfield isn’t being used for that purpose- it’s merely flood and flow control.

The CPNMD wants to accomplish two things. It wants to store water there, that they’ve purchased the rights to from ag sites along the South Platte River, both above and below Denver.

Secondly, it wants to build the infrastructure to get stored water to a treatment facility being constructed by another entity that CPNMD already has a partnership with for water treatment.

Issue A is up for a vote on Tuesday, May 8th.

The ballot issue raises questions, but residents told Denver7 it boils down to, “Where should our water come from, and how much is our water worth?”

Denver7 spoke with those on both sides of the matter- one that would authorize raising nearly $50-million for renewable water infrastructure.

“There's a lot of undecided people,” Ryan Parker told Denver7. “They don't know what to do cause they're hearing it from both sides.”

Parker stands in support of Issue A.

In opposition, Denise Crew said, “They're looking at a $49.2-million tax increase, which equates to over $100-million on a repayment.”

This is money that would pay for capacity improvements and building new water storage and treatment facilities in the city of roughly 11-thousand people.

Parker argued, “The mill levy increase is best because we've paid off the debt, so this is not going to hurt the pocketbooks of residents.”

He referred to a debt that the city acquired back in the 1980’s and only paid off recently.

Crew responded, “We finally are seeing some relief on our taxes, and to increase our water bill and service fees- we don't think that's fiscally responsible.”

In January 2017, the district board implemented a $15 renewable water fee, per month. This fee covered some of the renewable water infrastructure and capacity changes that are currently underway.

Crew told Denver7 the district hasn’t been transparent enough in its communication with the city.

Crew said those against Issue A want the district to consider other options to off-set the multi-million-dollar cost burden.

“We think it's a good idea to consider merging or integrating with a larger provider such as Parker Water and Sanitation,” she said.

Both Crew and Parker are gunning for one the four seats that are up for reelection, on the metro district board.

“It's something that we have been arguing about for hundreds of years, and it's not going away anytime soon,” Parker said.

Castle Pine residents vote on Issue A next Tuesday.