Water/Sewer Problems Continue for Prosperity Lane

A water main leak and sewer pumps failures are driving up costs for members of the Prosperity Lane Sewer District. Ken Cullen and George Schmidt, Prosperity Lane Board members, approached the Prowers County Commissioners Thursday, May 19 seeking guidance on establishing a special assessment for district members to cover the cost of current repairs and replacement of pumps.

The district has 73 user members but some 30 district residents have septic tanks, but use city water. A sewer system was built in 2002 using $650,000 in DoLA and state health department grants, plus a $289,000 loan from Colorado East Bank and Trust. The board generates $74,460 a year from basic sewer fees and pays the bank $22,000 a year on the loan, leaving $52,460 for operations and maintenance, which according to Cullen and Schmidt is not enough. They say the replacement costs for a pump are $2,000 per member, and say their troubles were added to by improperly trained repairmen. They are currently negotiating with a Denver firm to take over maintenance duties at $12 per member per month.

At present, the board collects the monthly payments and pays the city for water. After a basic water and sewer payment has been made to the city, the Prosperity Lane board has $74 per month per customer for servicing the system and debt reduction on the loan. The city has indicated it would prefer not to get involved with the sewer maintenance issues. Several years ago, the city installed an air ‘scrubbing’ device at McKorkle Field which is connected to the sewer line, alleviating a noxious odor which had deteriorated some of the sewer pipe serving Prosperity Lane residents. Board members are worried about future breakdowns, claiming the revenue generated is not enough to deal with anticipated problems. One concern is the need to purchase at least three pumps per year for several years in case they need replacing. Members estimated assessments to cover water, the bank loan, and future pump replacement would generate $480 per year per customer to cover their costs.

County attorney, John Lefferdink, suggested the board has the ability to enact a super priority which allows rate increases without using a mill levy or involving the county. The board’s actions are also restricted based on the district’s classification. Schmidt and Cullen said they would consider several options based on the discussion: let the district board conduct a majority rule election for the 73 members regarding a rate hike and/or review their options for sewer service with the city.

By Russ Baldwin


Filed Under: CommissionerscommunityLamarUtilities


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