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Bayfield sewage plant nearly finished
7/31/2009 By: By Carole McWilliams
Groundwater entering sewer lines still major problem, town manager says
Bayfield’s new $7.6 million sewage treatment plant is almost finished, but groundwater infiltration into sewer lines could take up a lot of its 600,000 gallon per day capacity.
The town made a major effort to eliminate sewer line infiltration in 2006 and 2007 after it took over operation of the sewer system from the separate and now dissolved Bayfield Sanitation District.
But Town Manager Justin Clifton reported to the town board on July 21 that the system has been running around 430,000 gpd, versus the 250,000 gpd that it should be running based on winter volume.
“This problem needs to be addressed as soon as possible, as it is using up a large portion of the new plant’s capacity,” he said in a written memo to trustees.
“You can almost see it the day the (irrigation) ditches come on,” he said of the increased flow volume.
“We are getting very close to start-up of the new sewer plant,” he reported. “The equipment providers will be on site during the first couple weeks of August to make sure everything is working properly. We still have some work to do getting a testing lab set up and a few other loose ends, but for the most part we are in the wrap-up stage of construction.”
He wants a public ribbon cutting as “an end to a very controversial time in Bayfield’s history…”
Clifton noted that the town will have to start making full debt payments of $380,000 next year on the new plant; and it could cost around $85,000 a year to operate the plant. He warned a customer rate increase is likely.
On top of plant engineering and construction costs will be the cost of decommissioning the current sewage lagoons. “We got an initial quote of $500,000 to remove sludge” as part of the shut-down there, Clifton said.
The town is actually looking at covering the sludge and allowing it to compost, he said. “We had the foresight to insist to the state that we would need up to two years to decommission the lagoons.”
Clifton reported he was still working on the last part of funding for the lift station to bring sewage from Gem Village to the new plant. The cost estimate for the lift station is $1 million, Funding sources include federal stimulus money. That has been frustrating, he said, because the federal guidelines keep changing.
Clifton told the Times the lift station project should go out for bids around Sept. 1. He thinks completion by the end of the year is feasible if construction starts by Sept. 30 with crews working from each end.
Contractor, Dove Ranch residents complain about construction noise, trash
Also on July 21, trustees heard complaints from building contractor Russell Jones and two Dove Ranch residents about excessive construction hours, noise, trash, and other disruptions, as well as damage to the value of existing homes, from the current flurry of construction in The Glen section of Dove Ranch.
Their focus was Albuquerque-based builder Artistic Homes and Dove Ranch developer Brad Elder. Much of the meeting was spent on this.
Jones is a former town board member and a contractor who has built and sold several houses in Dove Ranch.
Jones asked the town to stop issuing building permits or certificates of occupancy to Artistic Homes “until a date two weeks after the last violation of covenants or ordinances. And the reinstatement of this moratorium immediately upon the next infraction.”
He also asked the town to create a committee to review the town’s policies, procedures, and guidelines on how development is handled and monitored, and bring recommendations for changes.
He wants the committee to recommend policies for current and future town boards “when they are dealing with developers or land owners who have not fulfilled their commitment to the town during prior projects.”
Glen residents Dave Hardy and Bruce Elliott complained about the noise and disruption of construction crews working dawn to dark, and other problems such as nails and screws in the street causing flat tires. Both said their home values have been damaged.
Artistic advertises its homes in The Glen starting at $219,000 without optional extras.
Mark Iuppentalz, owner of 24 lots that Artistic is building on, said, “I think the issue is the volume of construction, not that Artistic is evil. We have 10 sites going simultaneously, so everything is magnified. … The current batch will be delivered to home owners next week. The majority will be finished in the next month. There could be another six starts that will be finished by October.”
Jones also cited Elder’s failure to build a promised park and to uphold covenants and design guidelines that were intended to make Dove Ranch a quality higher-end subdivision. He also cited lack of street lights in Dove Ranch.
“When the town doesn’t enforce covenants and the developer is the head of the HOA, it creates huge loopholes in the system,” Jones said.
Trustee Justin Talbot, a Dove Ranch resident, and Town Manager Clifton liked Jones’s idea of a committee to look at how the town oversees development.
Clifton said, “We need a better system of incentives for good developers and disincentives for bad developers. How do we administer the standards that are in place?”
He also said he’d talk to the marshal the next day “about a strict routine of monitoring and enforcement, ask them to take a zero tolerance policy on work hours.”
The Artistic Homes web site advertises home completion “in less than 60 days with no compromise in quality.” The fast completion time results in cost savings that are passed on to buyers, it says.
As of July 23 the website listed homes at The Glen starting at $219,000 with no optional extras. Prices went up to $290,900 for a house on a “premium” lot, plus one net zero energy show home on a premium lot for $331,900.
It listed 11 homes under contract, three reserved, 35 listed as available, and eight listed as withheld.
The web site also indicates Artistic plans to build more homes in other pending phases of Dove Ranch and at Brad Elder’s Southviews subdivision to the east.
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