Letter to Editor: City asks residents to attend open house on wastewater project, rate increase


The City of Monte Vista has been working with the Colorado Dept. of Health and Environment for several years to address the metals that are discharged into the lagoon system from the wastewater treatment plant. There are newer rules by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that the city must come into compliance with, and the current system is not designed to address the changes in those regulations. Thus, the city is required to build a new wastewater treatment plant.

The new wastewater treatment plant will be a mechanical plant, meaning all waste will be contained within and the lagoons will go away. The cost of this new system is estimated to be $30 million. This estimated cost is for the building of a new facility, the operational costs, the permitting of the facility, all legal aspects and compliance with state and federal rules and regulations.

The City has applied for a grant and loan through USDA Rural Development. At a minimum, we hope to receive a 40 percent grant and 60 percent loan over 40 years. The numbers have not yet been set by the USDA RD.

What does this mean to you? Your rates will increase. Whether you are a residential or commercial user, your rates will increase effective July 2022 and then again in 2023 and 2024. These rates have not increased since 2017.

The City hired Element Engineering to do a rate study as well as describing potential modifications to the rate structure to City Council on Aug. 19, 2021. City staff requested that council be provided with the suggested wastewater rate increase to support the Wastewater System Improvements Project considering one rate increase per year over a period of 3 years so that the burden of the full increase does not impact you all at once.

The city is inviting the public to an open house to discuss the increases. The first meeting is April 5 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at City Hall, 95 1st Ave., in Monte Vista. The second meeting will be held during a regular City Council meeting on April 21 at 6 p.m. Please come and ask questions. There will be diagrams and information for you.

Monte Vista City Council and Staff