Non Disclosure Agreements with Thornton

We have discovered some City Council and Water Board agenda items from May 2019 referring to City of Greeley non disclosure agreements on regional cooperation with Thornton to help them move their water through the City of Greeley’ water system to their Windsor pipeline. (The pertinent items are outlined in red.) That means the City wants to get some of Greeley citizens water demand out of the Poudre system. Therefore we will most likely be getting Terry Ranch ground water sooner rather than later.

This is part of the backstory to the Terry Ranch deal the City didn’t want to tell you about.

Our two Charter Change Amendment Petitions (Resource Page – Text of the Petitions) could put a kink in the City of Greeley’s and Thornton’s plans. These Amendments would give YOU, the Greeley voter, the right to vote on critical water decisions for our City. Please consider circulating the petitions to help us keep Greeley’s clean mountain drinking water for Greeley citizens.

You could be a part of Greeley history! Deadline is August 2.

Do It Yourself Government

If you want something done right, sometimes you just have to do it yourself, right? We citizens seem to rail against our government; be it City, State, or Federal. It seems almost like a pastime. But, when you think about it, City government is the one closest to the people and that we can have the most impact on.

You may have seen a lot of petitioners out in the public square lately. There are individuals gathering signatures for three State initiatives (all worthy initiatives). There are also individuals gathering signatures for City initiatives to appear on the November, 2021 ballot if we can gather enough signatures. The State petitioners are paid per signature gathered.

The citizens gathering signatures for the City initiatives are NOT paid per signature. They are your fellow citizens who have volunteered their time to see that you, the citizens of Greeley, have an opportunity to vote on Greeley’s Critical Water Issues.

Please stop and say hello when you see them out volunteering their time to make our City better. Please sign the petitions and, better yet, join them in circulating the petitions.

We need 50 circulators to fill out 1 petition section each (50 signatures), to be assured of getting these initiatives on the November ballot. These initiatives concern Greeley’s water… our water. These initiatives would allow YOU to vote on whether you want decisions on Critical Water Issues to be made by our City officials or whether you would like a say in these decisions.

If the citizens vote to have a say in Greeley’s Critical Water Decisions, City officials would be required to have an appropriate, in depth conversation with YOU in presenting ideas regarding critical water issues for a vote of the public.

Please take up the cause and become a petition circulator! It is my guess that you could get 50 signatures by talking to your friends, colleagues or church groups. Or walk a couple of blocks in your neighborhood and talk to neighbors in the evening. We need these signatures ASAP, or before August 2.

If you would agree to circulate a petition, private message me or email me at mary@gauthiere-engineering.com and I will get you the petition packet and instructions.

You will be joining an elite group of concerned citizens who are standing up for their City and their fellow citizens!

Appeal for More Petition Circulators

Most Greeley Citizens dislike what we see happening in Bittersweet Park and other parks in the City of Greeley. But is there anything that we can do about it?

The City is discouraging water use by existing customers, which includes our parks, to provide for an avalanche of new customers and growth. That is also what the purchase of Terry Ranch was about, to provide cheap water to developers. So, existing customers, expect to make do with less water for more money!

In Saturday’s Greeley Tribune, Water Department Director Sean Chambers stated that the City would be replacing 12,500 meters this summer so that YOU can get a more accurate (higher) water bill. You see, the old meters are “supposedly” not measuring all the water you use. So expect your water bills to go up if you are lucky enough to get a new meter. But don’t worry, Chambers said, “if there is an increase it would be less than 10%”. Another cost to Greeley customers down the road will be the expensive “point of use” ion exchange or reverse osmosis residential water treatment systems necessary on each home to assure that you are getting quality water if, or when, that Terry Ranch water gets to your faucet.

An article in Friday’s Greeley Tribune stated that Greeley has “the two biggest commodities with the land and the water, but they also have the willingness to grow”. Greeley “is “actually embracing growth”. I think in 10 years, you won’t even recognize Greeley as it is today. And Greeley will be developing with the promise of a new water source, Terry Ranch, that has no firm yield, as stated when Fort Collins turned down that alternative to a mountain reservoir enlargement, Halligan Reservoir, which is well on its way to being permitted by the US Army Corps of Engineers. The Terry Ranch purchase also involves a private company, Wingfoot (Talkot Capital, Akin Family) in our water affairs, who will be taking millions, or billions, of dollars from Greeley water.

If all of this disturbs you as much as it does me, then one thing you could do is help us with our petition drive to give the Citizens of Greeley the right to vote on Critical Water Issues. Save Greeley’s Water has been circulating two petitions to amend the City Charter to 1) require a vote of the people before the City can sell our water rights or water facilities and 2) to require a vote of the people before the City can buy recycled waste-water or ground water AND PROVIDE IT to the citizens through Greeley’s water system.

If we can get 3,101 verified signatures, these charter change amendments will appear on the November 2021 ballot for your consideration. You will have the chance to vote on whether YOU want to have a vote on Critical Water Issues.

Save Greeley’s Water needs 15-20 additional petition circulators. Each petition section has room for 50 signatures. It is really easy, and you could obtain those 50 signatures by walking 2-3 blocks in your neighborhood, taking it to work with you or providing it for your friends or church group to sign. We would provide all the information necessary to help you do this, and all you need to do after you obtain the 50 signatures is to fill out an affidavit at the back of the petition and have your signature notarized.

As a Scottish philosopher, Edmund Burke said back in the 18th century, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” City Government is the government closest to the people and if we default on our citizenship, then we really can’t complain about what the City leaders do to us.

Please help us with our petition effort. We have 4 weeks left before our deadline. A LITTLE BIT OF EFFORT on the part of the MANY CITIZENS OF GREELEY could give us all MORE SAY IN OUR CITY GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS.

Contact me and we will see that you get the materials that you need.

Thank you for your consideration. God bless you and GOD SAVE GREELEY!

Petitioning

Save Greeley’s Water’s wonderful volunteers were out in force yesterday at Walmart on 10th Street. Many citizens are eager to sign the petitions to get a chance to have a say in Greeley’s water future at the November election.

SGW will be at the Friday Fest downtown and the Blues Jam at Island Grove this weekend and many other events and places.

Look for us when you go out. Or better yet, join us in circulating the petitions! Just private message me and we will find a way to get the petitions to you.

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

A BLAST FROM THE PAST 3:

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.

In 1986 City Council Delayed the Vote on the Sale of the High Mountain Reservoirs Contrast That With 2021 When the City Council Moved Up the Vote by Two Weeks on the Acquisition of Terry Ranch

A BLAST FROM THE PAST 2:

This is Part 2 in our history lesson on how the City Council handled the public in 1986 when the public disagreed with the City’s water policy.

In 1986, when Greeley’s Water Board and City Council wanted to sell Greeley’s High Mountain Reservoirs, the public objected and started a Charter Change Amendment Petition Drive to require a vote of the public before Greeley’s water assets could be sold. The City Council actually delayed their vote on the sale by two weeks to give the public and the Council more time to study the issue. The public was able to obtain the required number of signatures to bring the Charter Change Amendment to a vote. However, on August 19, the City Council turned down the proposal by Thornton to buy our reservoirs by a 4-3 vote, with Mayor Markley breaking the tie. With that vote the public was satisfied and never did get a vote on the Charter Change.

The main reason that the Charter Change Amendment was not presented to the public for a vote was that the then City Attorney incorrectly declared the petition not legally binding because there was no ordinance attached to it. Looking back and knowing what we know today, it is clear that there did not need to be an ordinance attached. There was a ballot question presented on the petition and it should have been put to a vote of the public.

In the above Greeley Tribune article there are many statements by the City and the Water Board that turned out to be in error. For instance, it was stated that in order to use the water from the high mountain reservoirs, Greeley would have to build another pipeline. In fact, Greeley was, at that very time, using water from these reservoirs and has continued to use that water over the past decades. It took another 30 years before Greeley started building that additional 60″ Bellvue pipeline, that just recently started carrying water to Greeley.

It was also stated that if we retained and did the maintenance on those five high mountain reservoirs, that Greeley would have to raise water rates by 20%. In fact, the water rates, due to the long term financing of the reservoir maintenance, rose by about 2%.

So the point is that, the public can be emotional about their drinking water, and that doesn’t make them wrong in their views. The City can skew the truth for the public’s consumption so that they can do what they want to do, and that doesn’t make them right. The City of Greeley did that in 1986 and they did that in 2021.

However, in 2021, the City Council was more ruthless and actually moved their vote up by two weeks to give the public less time to study the issue. In confidential meetings staff expressed the need to “control the narrative” since they expected a “strong public reaction” to the purchase of the Terry Ranch aquifer. This showed a blatant disrespect of the public’s views. The City did not provide an extension on the public’s referendum effort to overturn the ordinance allowing the City to accept water credits from Terry Ranch, even though we were under the veil of Covid and a large an unusual snowstorm occurred during the approximately three week period we had to collect signatures. The citizens were not accorded the same allowance that the City gave to a bunch of developers of the Double Tree Hotel, when they were exempted from paying their assessment of over $200,000 to the City because of Covid. In the end, the citizens collected over 2,000 signatures but were not able to collect enough signatures to bring the referendum to a vote. The City closed on the Terry Ranch deal on April 6, 2021.

We Still have Our Poudre River Water Supply…For Now

A BLAST FROM THE PAST:

Thirty five years ago, Greeley attempted to sell its 5 high mountain reservoirs to Thornton. The City of Thornton offered $5.2 million paid out over 30 years at a low rate of interest. The value of these water rights today at the nominal rate of $34,000 per acre-foot is approximately $280 million. A more realistic value for these mountain water rights is $50,000 – $80,000 per acre foot or $412 million – $659 million.

In 1986 we had a real local newspaper that covered all of the City Council and Water & Sewer Board meetings and the public could actually attend them in person and take the floor and have input.

On March 2, 2021, the public hearing on Terry Ranch allowed about 15-20 speakers 2 minutes each at a zoom meeting to make their point. This is not a proper way to conduct public business.

The water from these reservoirs has kept Greeley in good stead water-wise all of these years. Maybe, sometimes, the citizens do know better than the Water Board, City Council and Staff!

Our Future Drinking Water at Risk

Save Greeley’s Water continues its efforts to protect the future quality of Greeley’s drinking water supply.  Save Greeley’s Water has revived its Charter Change Amendment Petition drive.  These Charter Change Amendments are the same as those circulated earlier in the year.  Even though the City of Greeley closed on the Terry Ranch deal, these amendments, if approved at the November election, would give the citizens some say in their water future.  For instance, If Amendment 17-9 passed, the City could not sell our water rights or water infrastructure without a vote of the people. 

And don’t for a minute think the City would not do this.  Over past years, the City sold half of its Windy Gap water to various front range cities.  This is wholly consumable water that could have gone into the newly permitted Chimney Hollow Reservoir that will soon be built near Carter Lake.  

In 1986, the City of Greeley tried to sell its five high mountain reservoirs;  Barnes Meadow, Comanche, Twin Lake, Hourglass, and Peterson to Thornton.  The Director of W & S at the time had read a popular book called “Zero Inventories” by Robert Hall and decided that the City should not keep excess inventory of anything…. including water.  An effort by citizens to stop the sale was successful and the City Council voted 4-3 against it.  Mayor Markley wisely respected and honored the citizens wishes by breaking  the tie vote.  We hold him in high regard. 

This time, in regard to Terry Ranch, the City Council was downright hostile to the citizens wishes and actions and they purchased uranium tainted water in the Cheyenne Basin, a known uranium district, for our drinking water.  City officials will be celebrating their purchase with a victory party at Terry Ranch on May 17.  Did you get your invitation?

The City has stated that it plans to abandon the  permitting process with US Army Corps of Engineers to enlarge Milton Seaman Reservoir (MSR).  When the City finally admits to the public that it has nowhere to put its additional 15,000 acre feet of conditional water right decrees for MSR without enlarging it, the City will find a buyer.  This process could be in the works right now.  It is highly likely that the City of Fort Collins is interested in acquiring Greeley’s high quality Poudre River assets which are senior to Fort Collins conditional decrees for Halligan Reservoir.  Or Greeley City Officials may choose to sell its water assets to a thirsty city in the Denver Metro Area, such as Thornton.  If this occurs, that hard to treat Terry Ranch water will not be a drought supply, it will be our everyday supply.

This is why these Charter Change Amendments need to be on the November ballot.  Amendment 17-10 will prohibit the City from buying recycled wastewater and groundwater and putting it into our water system.  We realize that the City has already purchased groundwater.  But these Charter Change Amendments could keep that groundwater out of our water system for a long time since we have such a good supply of surface water. If a vote of the public is required by Charter, then the decision would be up to you if and when you want to consume water that has some uranium and possibly other contaminants in it.

We need people to help us circulate the petitions for signatures.  We need to acquire 3,101 verified signatures of registered Greeley voters by July 9 to get the petitions on the November ballot.  If you think you could obtain 50 signatures by July 9, please contact me to get a petition.  There are a lot of community events that take place before July 9, such as Friday Fest and all of the Stampede events.  With Covid on the wane it is possible that people will want to congregate and do something good for their community at the same time.

Please consider becoming a petition circulator.  We need all the help we can get to keep Greeley’s drinking water clean and safe for our families.