Council votes to talk with Metro Wastewater

No financial plan in place

Steve Smith
ssmith@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 4/29/21

Fort Lupton City Administrator Chris Cross summed up the feelings of many about the subject of mandatory wastewater plant improvements April 20.  “I wish there was a clear-cut answer. There …

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Council votes to talk with Metro Wastewater

No financial plan in place

Posted

Fort Lupton City Administrator Chris Cross summed up the feelings of many about the subject of mandatory wastewater plant improvements April 20. 

“I wish there was a clear-cut answer. There isn’t,” he told the council after it voted 5-2 to start negotiations with the Metro Wastewater District. “It’ll be a long time before we know if we made the correct decision. At last, we are moving forward.” 

The vote lets city staff start talking with the district but doesn’t bind the city to a financial arrangement.

Councilmen Chris Ceretto and Tommy Holton voted no. Neither commented during the council’s April 20 meeting. Holton objected to Fort Lupton’s lack of voting power on the Metro board earlier in the ongoing discussion about how best to pay for the $38 million in required improvements. 

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is requiring cities with wastewater plants to take steps to reduce the amount of phosphorus and nitrogen in their wastewater.

Council voted earlier to explore the bond market to help offset the cost. Bonds won’t come up for sale until sometime in the fall. 

The costs for the city to continue plant operation are higher than joining the Metro district, Cross said. Don Summers, who is on the board of Todd Creek Village (it has an intergovernmental agreement with Fort Lupton), told the council it was behind Fort Lupton’s decision whichever way it went. 

“Going with Metro serves the citizens of Fort Lupton better,” he said. “The advice of our attorneys and everyone I’ve heard from the state, government, the EPA is there will be more regionalization of wastewater plants.” 

Brandy DeLange, the governmental affairs representative with Metro, said Fort Lupton’s participation on the district board was limited. 

“We have a 25-person board,” she told councilors. “Your representation is based on your population (about 8,000 residents). We give cities one vote per 75,000 people of population, and we revisit that every four years.” 

Resident Ron Schyler, an engineer for more than 50 years, spoke to the issue twice. He told the council the issue was not “black and white” and acknowledged the lack of size of the facility.

Schyler also told council the decision would be “political” and cautioned council about the lack of say in operations if it went with Metro. 

“I like the idea of keeping it,” he said. “It’s a feel-good position from a guy who treats wastewater plants all over the country.” 

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