Three Lakes board awards sewer line extension bid to ATH Specialties
September 6, 2016
In a three-hour special meeting of the Three Lakes Water & Sanitation District on Wednesday, August 31 a unanimous decision was made by the board: Julie Gasner, Pat Farmer, Dan Knox, Les Shankland and Chairman Bill Heffron, to award a contract to ATH Specialties of Granby. Within 60 days the contractor will start construction of the sewer main line extension on the Hillside addition to the Pine Beach/Wild Acres subdivision on County Road 4632 near Grand Lake.
According to the Three Lakes Water & Sanitation District website, "The District has a proposed project to extend the sewer main line in the Hillside Addition to Pine Beach by 1325 feet, which is expected to allow the District to provide public sewer services to 17 vacant lots (when they are someday developed) and 4 improved lots (currently served by individual septic tanks), consistent with the District's mandate to provide public sanitary sewer services throughout the District."
During the special session the Board considered the ATH Specialties bid of $164,602, which was the lowest of the two bids received, and listened to public comments about the bid.
Several community members and homeowners who would be affected by the sewer extension were able to comment and ask questions.
Gayle Langley, a homeowner in the subdivision, asked to put a maximum on what the homeowner would bear if the bid goes over. She asked if there was a strategic plan for this project and asked the board to be, "compassionate and reasonable."
Michael Eha, a homeowner affected by the decision stated that the bid didn't make sense.
"You are our neighbors, you don't bankrupt them and throw them out of their house. If you go forth on this bid, it's sloppy and lazy and you have no business committing to it," he said.
Eha said he didn't understand why this decision about a sewer extension had to be done so quickly.
"Why is it so important that this happens without a strategy?"
The decision by the board to accept the bid and move forward with the line extension would create a financial hardship for many of the homeowners who currently have working septic systems.
Several questions were raised during the meeting including how emergency vehicles will access the homes when the construction on County Road 4632 begins. This question was not answered.
The reason the Board wanted to begin the project was based on future sales of the vacant lots, according to the project description listed on their website:
"a property owner on County Road 4632 who wished to build a home properly requested a variance from connection because she had no access to a sewer main in her area. The Board felt the need to investigate the idea of a main line extension program with staff because there were already four existing homes in the area who previously obtained "temporary variances" from connection due to the lack of a public sewer main (who therefore had septic tanks) and there were additional properties which were expected to develop at some future date which would eventually need sewer service."
During the Board's final review prior to accepting the bid Board member Pat Farmer stated her opinion about the extensions: "new constructions want a sewer," she said. Board member Knox stated the sewer will benefit the community and vacant lot owners will appreciate it later. Sally Blea, District Manager, stated that after a Compel Connect has been issued, then they will consider a variance.
Despite several questions about a long-term strategy, the need for the immediate action and an emergency plan during construction, the final bid was approved for a total of $158,602 for 21 lots after a prior approval to remove the four taps from the bid.
The Board maintains that their decision is consistent with the District's mandate to provide public sanitary sewer services throughout the District.