Misrepresentation and Scare Tactics From City of Greeley Officials

By John G. Gauthiere, P. E.

In the Greeley Tribune’s article of August 15, 2021, City of Greeley Officials and the Water and Sewer Board Chairman, Harold Evans, misrepresented the Charter Amendments and resorted to fear tactics to scare the voters into voting against them. 

According to City of Greeley Officials, the charter changes would require special elections for certain water management decisions that could result in higher rates and taxes, water supply issues and impairment of the local agricultural economy.

Let’s take a look at these claims one-by-one. 

  1.  The Charter Amendments Would Require Special Elections:

Amendment 17-9 requires a vote of the public before water rights or water supply and treatment facilities can be sold.

Selling water rights and facilities should not be a routine task.  Good water rights, with their historical priorities, should never be sold.  Nor should treatment and supply facilities.  Therefore, no special election is needed!

Amendment 17-10 requires a vote of the public before the city can buy and provide to its citizens groundwater and/or recycled wastewater.

The public is happy with its mountain surface water supply, so, no special election needed here! 

  •  The Charter Amendments Could Result in Higher Rates and Taxes:

If anything would make water rates go up, it is the City’s attempt to provide substandard water such as Terry Ranch ground water or recycled wastewater to the public. Substandard water requires more intense and expensive treatment to make it acceptable to the public than our surface water supply.  It would also require new infrastructure to be built to treat it and move it to Greeley. 

The Water & Sewer Department does not levy taxes, nor will the Charter Amendments affect taxes. 

  •  Water Supply Issues:

The Charter Amendments would not affect the ability of Greeley to, for instance, bypass fire ravaged Poudre River water supplies by pulling its own CBT water from Horsetooth Reservoir  through the Pleasant Valley Pipeline, which was a project conceived by me many years ago when I was a young Engineer working for Greeley Water.  

  •  Impairment of the Local Agricultural Economy:

Amendment 17-10 refers only to the purchase and delivery of groundwater or recycled wastewater.  Agricultural water has been purchased and leased back to farmers for many years.  This water is surface water not subject to Amendment 17-10 and could be leased back for 5 years at a time, or even longer if submitted to a regular (not special) election vote.

For more context regarding why these Charter Amendments should be approved, Greeley recently entertained the possibility of renting our Cache la Poudre treatment and transmission facilities to Thornton which would have resulted in Greeley Citizens consuming contaminated Terry Ranch water within the next couple of years.  That idea appears to have fallen through for now, but it could reappear. Thornton is desperate to get their WS&S water moving south.

Also, in 1986 Greeley tried to sell our high mountain reservoirs to Thornton but was thwarted when the people started a Charter Amendment petition drive to stop the sell.  The people stood up, and Mayor Markley broke the City Council tie vote in favor of the people.  (The Markley Family apparently still agrees with the Mayor’s past decision.  Five members of the Markley Family happily signed these Charter Amendment Petitions.)

Lastly, have you enjoyed that pure mountain drinking water from our high mountain reservoirs over the past 35 years? 

If you have, it is because your fellow citizens stood up to their City Officials back then, just as we all are doing today. 

*This article was submitted as a guest editorial to the Greeley Tribune on 8/18/21.

We Have a Valid Petition

Today SGW turned in the petitions to amend the City Charter to require a vote of the people before the City can sell water rights or facilities, or bring in substandard water for us to drink.

We turned in over 4,200 signatures for each of the amendments. The required number of verified signatures is 3,101.

Now the City Clerk’s office will begin the verification process. We should know by late in the day August 23rd whether or not we have 3,101 verified signatures. If we do, the City Council will set ballot issues for the November ballot and we will have the opportunity to vote on whether or not to change the City Charter to require the people’s vote on critical water issues.

Stay tuned!

Below see photos of our trip to the City Clerk’s Office to deliver the petitions:

Last 4 Hours to Sign


By 5 PM we will turn in our petitions to the City Clerk and she will begin the verification process.

But before then, SGW will be taking signatures at King Soopers 10th Street from 8 AM until Noon. We may also have people at Walmart on 10th Street until about Noon.


But YOU can still be a part of this process of standing up for your right to clean, affordable drinking water. YOU can still participate in petitioning for a voice in such critical decisions regarding your drinking water.

Come out before Noon and take part in standing up for your rights as Greeley Citizens. YOU are the only people who can do this! Evans, Windsor, and Milliken Citizens drink Greeley water but they cannot sign these petitions. Maybe you have friends in these towns. Your voice will help to keep their water clean and affordable also.


Sign the petitions to amend Greeley’s City Charter to require a vote of the people on the critical water decisions of selling our water and buying quality water to drink.

Hope to see you on Monday morning!


Signing the Charter Change Amendment Petitions

We have a day and a half left on our campaign to get these issues on the November ballot. We will have people at Kings Soopers 10th Street and/or Walmart 10th Street all day today and until Noon tomorrow.

Or you can come by 2157 Buena Vista Drive to sign. If we are not outside, honk or ring the doorbell.

Our deadline is 5 PM on Monday, August 2.

Don’t miss this opportunity to be a part of Greeley water history!!

SGW Letter to the Citizens of Greeley

Our Charter Change Amendments must be turned in to the City Clerk’s office on Monday, August 2 by 5:00 PM. If you would like to sign, we will be at the Farmer’s Market this Saturday morning 8:00 AM to Noon and at the Victory Outreach at 2626 11th Ave on Saturday from Noon to 3:00 PM. You may also come by 2157 Buena Vista Drive on Sunday between 9:00 AM and 1 PM to sign.

Don’t let this opportunity go by to keep Greeley’s water the Best in the Nation!

YOU can be a part of Greeley History!

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!


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.