LETTER: Please Vote No on Proposed SJWCD Tax Increase

I’m writing this as a private citizen with considerable knowledge about our local water resources, thanks to five years serving on the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation board of directors. During those years, I have watched the Pagosa community get behind a much more reasonable water storage policy than what we were pursuing in 2008 when the Dry Gulch property was purchased as a future reservoir site.

We now know that the water district was, for many years, losing an unacceptable amount of its treated water through leaks and other problems. Working hand-in-hand with the San Juan Water Conservancy District (SJWCD), the PAWSD board has been able to reach an agreement with the Colorado Water Conservation Board that will allow PAWSD to invest in fixing those unacceptable leaks. This joint effort will greatly reduce the need for additional water storage in Archuleta County.

I am against the property tax increase, proposed by SJWCD on June 12, because there is, in my educated opinion, zero benefit for local residents to build Dry Gulch until the local population reaches 100,000 people. This mill levy increase on the ballot is “Dead on Arrival” for any Archuleta County voter who is informed.

This mill levy increase could easily line the pockets of a few, at the expense of many. Classic government abuse of tax paying citizens. It is unfortunate to watch another attempt by special interests to hang this potentially $300 million albatross around the necks of on our local citizens.

SJCWD is tone deaf to believe our local residents want to pay a penny more on this wasteful project.

I would recommend that the SJWCD find an end user outside of Archuleta County to pay for any proposed property purchases, and get off the backs of hard working Pagosa Springs residents who have already rejected Dry Gulch as a spending boondoggle. Dry Gulch is not needed now, or into the foreseeable future, for Pagosa.

I urge my fellow citizens: please vote ‘No’ on any mill levy increase for SJWCD — as a standard practice. They are out of touch with you.

Mike Church
Pagosa Springs, CO

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