In their regular meeting on April 12, the Buena Vista Board of Trustees approved a new water rate schedule as well as the purchase of the Bray-Allen Extension water right. As the town has pursued improvements to its water systems and a wider array of water rights to support the town’s expected growth, the board has heard presentations on the proposed water rate change since 2021.
Base monthly water rate change
The water rate schedule will go into effect during the June 2022 billing cycle. It is based on the Draft Water Rate study presented to the board on February 22, 2022, by Wright Water Engineers (WWE). The study recommended changes to the water rates to cover increases in maintenance costs and capital expenses for 2022-2028, which include projects needed by existing customers as well as those needed for ongoing growth.
The recommended changes will increase the monthly base rate each year by the Consumer Price Index to support increased costs of operations, parts, and other needs. In June of 2022, the base monthly rate will increase from $34.92 to $36.87, including up to 5,000 gallons of water. An additional tiered rate billing system adds a cost per additional 1,000 gallons, with an increase at certain thresholds.
The motion to approve the new water rates passed unanimously.
Bray-Allen Extension water right purchase
The Town of Buena Vista was originally approached by a local agriculturalist to purchase water rights as they shifted away from farming. Additionally, much of the property associated with the water right has been subdivided for residential development.
The town made an offer to purchase 5.0 Cubic Feet Per Second (cfs) or 2,244 Gallons Per minute (gpm) of water, Priority Admin. Number 116 in seniority on the Arkansas River, for $1.2 million, to be paid over the next three years.
The town will also pay an additional $5,000 per acre-foot if more than 120 acre-feet of water are decreed during water court. Per the staff report, this water right will benefit the town due to its size, its location on the Arkansas drainage, and its potential use in the town’s portfolio as additional water in lieu of Project Water, for augmentation, or for development opportunities. The purchase was approved unanimously.
Featured image: Arkansas River, Ruby Mountain. Tara Flanagan photo