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2021 Proposed City Charter Amendments

This November, voters will be asked to consider two changes to the city’s Home Rule Charter, which has successfully guided how the city manages the community’s water resources since 1958. The changes would make Greeley the only city in Colorado to require a special election to approve water management decisions the city considers to be routine.


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Ballot Issue 2G

Changes to Charter section 17.09

The addition of a new section 17.9 to the Charter would require the city to hold elections on water-related matters, putting operational questions on the ballot that must pass by a majority of all registered voters, regardless of voter turnout to the election. The changes could delay or suspend long-term water leases, limit the use of leases with farmers interested in selling their water now but not yet done farming, and limit Greeley’s position in the water purchasing market. The changes duplicate the state law that already requires a vote for any sale or trade of a waterworks or utility asset.  The proposed changes would also require that an engineering study of the lease, sale or trade be performed and published at least sixty (60) days before the election. 

Ballot issue 2G Pro v. Con:

Reasons to approve: 

  • By requiring duplicative public notice requirements and a public vote, the Charter change gives citizens more opportunities to provide input on issues involving long-term leases, trades, or sales of Greeley water, water rights, and facilities.
  • The changes extend the time frame for planning and decision-making on major projects, requiring additional time for outside consultants to review, analyze, and either validate or recommend alternatives.
  • The changes extend the public review period by 60 days and add additional requirements for public hearings before registered voters are asked to decide on long-term leases, trades, or sales.

Reasons to oppose: 

  • The current Charter has provided for good governance, strategic investments, and guidance for the city since 1958, making Greeley a leader in safe, reliable, affordable water services.
  • The changes would require many water resource transactions to be approved by a majority of “all registered electors” without considering voter turnout to the election, making it practically impossible to obtain approval.
  • Greeley would be severely hindered in future efforts to acquire and manage water supply, and that future operations of the system would be constrained to such an extent that service would suffer and rates would need to go up.   
  • The changes would make it impossible to make long-term water-related trades or exchanges to ensure uninterrupted water supplies in response to natural disasters like severe drought or contamination from wildfires. 
  • Greeley would be put at a competitive disadvantage with other water resource buyers.  Opportunities to acquire additional water for the city may be missed.  The stability of the regional agricultural economy may be affected.  It would be difficult for farmers to plan their long-term water use. 
  • There will be a financial cost to water ratepayers and delays in decision-making. Outside consultants would need to be paid to duplicate studies, and an estimated three to five elections per year would need to be funded.   
  • Colorado state law (CRS 31-15-713) already requires a public vote on the sale of city water utility assets, including water rights and water facilities. The law obligates the city to hold a public hearing and act by ordinance. Changing the Charter duplicates what is already required by state law.

 

Ballot Issue 2H

Changes to Charter section 17.10

The addition of a new section 17-10 to the Charter would require a majority of all registered voters, regardless of voter turnout to the election, before the city could use, purchase, lease, or provide groundwater or recycled wastewater for drinking water or irrigation (non-potable) use.  Greeley currently uses groundwater and indirectly recycles wastewater to serve non-potable water throughout the city. This change would require that an engineering study be performed and published at least sixty (60) days prior to the election.

Ballot issue 2H Pro v. Con:

Reasons to approve: 

  • Having a public vote on the purchase, lease, provisions, or use of groundwater or recycled wastewater gives citizens the decision-making authority to make operational decisions that determine what types of water rights to acquire and use. In addition, the changes extend the time frame for planning and decision-making on major projects, requiring additional outside consultants to review proposed actions.
  • The changes extend the public review period by 60 days and add additional requirements for public hearings before registered voters are asked to decide on the purchase, lease, use, or provision of recycled water or groundwater for potable or non-potable uses.

Reasons to oppose:

  • The current Charter has provided for good governance, strategic investments, and guidance for the city since 1958, making Greeley a leader in safe, reliable, affordable water services.
  • The changes could prohibit the use of recycled wastewater and groundwater currently used to irrigate parks, golf courses, and cemeteries throughout the city.  Eliminating current uses of groundwater and recycled wastewater and replacing that water with other sources would require additional water purchases, increasing water rates.
  • This measure could prohibit the city’s use of groundwater supplies acquired by the Terry Ranch Project.  If the use of Terry Ranch is prohibited, Greeley would lose the money spent to date on the project and forego hundreds of millions in future revenues. The city would also lose additional pipeline funding as part of the Terry Ranch project. The city would then need to pay additional hundreds of millions to build more costly alternatives to Terry Ranch. 
  • There will be a financial cost to water ratepayers and delays in decision-making. Outside consultants would need to be paid to duplicate studies, and an estimated three to five elections per year would need to be funded.   
  • If approved, these changes could double water rates within the next decade. 

Contact Us

Greeley Water and Sewer

1100 10th Street, Suite 300
Greeley, CO 80631

Monday - Friday 8am - 5pm

970-350-9811 tel
970-350-9805 fax
water@greeleygov.com

Water Conservation

970-336-4134
970-336-4168 for Water Budget
conserve@greeleygov.com

Emergencies

Water 8am-5pm 970-350-9811
Sewer 7am-3pm 970-350-9322
after hours/weekend970-350-9600

Other Numbers

billing970-350-9720
start or stop service970-350-9720
water taste or odor970-350-9836
water pressure970-350-9320
water restrictions & violations970-336-4134
utility line locates811

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