SAVE GREELEY’S WATER
By John and Mary Gauthiere
The Save Greeley’s Water (SGW) movement actually started in 1986 when Greeley decided to sell its high mountain reservoirs to Thornton. It just didn’t have a name yet. Concerned Citizens started a Charter Amendment Petition Drive to bring any water sale to a vote. Our lead person, Joe Howard, spoke with Judge Donald Carpenter, son of Delph Carpenter, who thought Greeley should never sell its water. He referred us to Judge William West who wrote the proposed Charter Amendment.
The citizens obtained 2,669 signatures for an Amendment to the City Charter to take any proposed sale of water rights or long term leases to the voters. The Citizens were able to bring political pressure on the Council such that the Council voted 4-3 against the sale. We still enjoy that water today!
The City’s serious pursuit of Terry Ranch, an aquifer contaminated with uranium and other potential hazards, prompted the resurgence of the Citizen effort this year.
A Tribune article from March 2019 states that Roy Otto was in serious discussions with Thornton to move their WS&S water across Larimer County since they couldn’t obtain a permit from Larimer County. It was proposed that Greeley lease or sell Thornton space in our Bellvue Water Treatment Plant and associated pipelines to move Thornton’s water across Larimer County to the pipeline Thornton is building at Windsor. In order to accommodate Thornton in Greeley’s system, Greeley would have to get some demand out of the Bellvue system. Hence Terry Ranch! The perfect solution! Not for Greeley Citizens benefit, but for the benefit of Thornton! If Greeley could provide Terry Ranch water for its Citizens, there would be room to accommodate Thornton.
Much research was undertaken. Meetings with Water Board members, staff and consultants occurred. Greeley closed on Terry Ranch in April 2021. SGW doesn’t think the City made a good decision. This doesn’t only pertain to the quality of the groundwater purchased, but the involvement of Talkot Capital, an Investment Firm owned by the Akin Family. Wingfoot is their surrogate.
This Firm intends to take millions of dollars of profit from Greeley Citizens. This is what investment firms do. When a private party gets involved in public projects, the private party gets the profit and the public gets exploited. Greeley has never “financed” a water purchase this way before. For these and other reasons, SGW decided to move forward with Charter Change Amendments to give the Citizens some power over critical water decisions.
Amendment 17-9 (aka 2G) requires a public vote to sell water rights or facilities or lease them for the long term. An independent engineering study, made available to the public, and a public hearing must be held on the measure before the vote.
Amendment 17-10 (aka 2H) requires a public vote to buy recycled wastewater or groundwater and deliver it through Greeley’s water system. Ditto on the engineering study.
That is the totality of the charter changes! No special elections required, with proper management of the Water & Sewer Department. No super majority vote required to pass measures under these amendments.
It is very disappointing that the City has resorted to the use of scare tactics to discourage the Citizens from voting In Favor of these Amendments. The Council’s Ballot Titles are Deceptive and Not Worthy of being presented to Greeley Citizens.
SGW wants water rates to be low. Terry Ranch infrastructure and treatment costs will cause rates to skyrocket!
Citizens, Don’t Listen to the City’s Propaganda or the Greeley Tribune Opinion. If you want a Voice in the Water your Family Drinks, Vote Yes on 2G/2H.