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Sean Chambers, director, Water and Sewer Department
The city of Greeley is investing in the city’s future by acquiring water storage, cleaning up its wastewater effluent and preventing downtown flooding. These investments will cost over $200 million in the next several years and will position the city to be able to service expected population growth for decades. That will mean some utility rates adjustments for 2022.
“The challenge we have as a city is how do we provide for the future of this growing community as our predecessors have done so well, and still do it in a way that minimizes the impact on our ratepayers?” said Harold Evans, chairman of the Greeley Water and Sewer Board. The Board recently unanimously approved the new rates.
He noted regulatory changes driving up costs, in addition to providing for rapidly going population as drivers of rate increases. “It’s a balancing act of investing in the future and trying to minimize the impact on our ratepayers, and I think we’re doing a good job of that.”
To Greeley residents, upgrades and ongoing maintenance of city utilities will mean about a $10-a-month (on average) utility rate increase in 2022. That equates to about 9.8 percent in total. The increases will take effect in January 2022 and residents may not see the changes until their February utility bills. The increases break down in a variety of ways:
- Water – An average increase of $4.16 a month will help cover Greeley’s participation in a massive new water storage reservoir (Windy Gap) that will provide enough water for more than 4,500 new residences.
- Sewer – An increase of $4.22 a month will cover the cost of state- and federally mandated sanitary sewer upgrades. The mandates are to reduce the amounts of nitrogen and phosphorous in the city’s treated wastewater effluent to reduce algae growth.
- Stormwater – A $1.54 a month increase will help the city solve a longtime downtown flooding issue downtown. The city will upgrade the city’s storm drainage to handle large rain events such as the flooding of July 1, 2021, which damaged multiple businesses and homes.
Greeley has been treating water since 1888. In 1907, Greeley residents paid $350,000 ($10.3 million in today’s dollars) on a 38-mile pipeline to the mouth of the Poudre Canyon. That began an extensive water resource system that today includes several above-ground reservoirs, a below-ground aquifer storage reservoir, two water treatment plants, almost 700 miles of pipeline, and a wastewater treatment facility. Together, all ensure the health and vitality of a growing community.