On August 19, 1986 the Greeley City Council Voted Down the Sale of Greeley’s Five High Mountain Reservoirs


This is Part 3 in our history lesson on how the City Council handled the public in 1986 when the public disagreed with the City’s water policy.

On August 19, 1986, the Greeley City Council bowed to the will of the citizens of Greeley and voted down the sale of Greeley’s five high mountain reservoirs to Thornton.  The vote was not unanimous.  It was a close 4 to 3 vote against the sale of the City’s water assets.  The reservoirs were rehabilitated, and we still enjoy drinking that Poudre River mountain water today.  Water rates did not go up the predicted 20%.  Greeley still had some of the lowest water rates on the front range.

Many of the Councilmen who voted against the sale said that they agreed with the Water Board’s proposal to sell the reservoirs to Thornton but, as one Councilman put it, “I believe the experts and I’m willing to accept the proposal.  What I can’t handle is the 9 out of 10 people outside city hall who are against this….We simply can’t afford to do any more deals that don’t have the basic backing of the citizens of Greeley”.

At the Council meeting the Greeley City Council was presented with an initiative petition signed by 2,669 citizens asking for a vote to amend the city charter to require a vote of the people before Greeley’s water rights could be sold.  This initiative petition should have been brought to a vote of the people, but it was not.  The then City Attorney said that the petition  required an ordinance which was not presented.  This turned out to be incorrect and the people thought that they would have to start their petition drive over and decided not to do that.  The Council had voted down the sale of Greeley’s water and the people were satisfied. 

Even our city officials can make mistakes, like the one just made by the City Council in signing the Terry Ranch/Wingfoot contract.  Who would have thought that the City of Greeley would buy uranium containing groundwater for our future, in a public-private partnership with an investment firm who will profit from the sale of that water, and call it “momentous” and “serendipitous”? This Terry Ranch/Wingfoot deal should have never been signed and the City should find a way to extricate us from this one sided deal.

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