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An open letter to the Fort Collins City Council

An open letter 

to the Fort Collins City Council

from Boxelder Sanitation District

(prompted by Montava)

Since 1965 Boxelder Sanitation District (“BSD”) has provided public sanitary sewer service to areas northeast of downtown Fort Collins. BSD has a defined service area established by a regional association of governments of which the City of Fort Collins is an active member.

The proposed Montava development is located entirely within BSD’s service area. BSD has installed and paid for a large sewer collection line that runs directly through the Montava property and is available to serve it. BSD gave Montava its written commitment to serve the development over 2 years ago, and BSD has planned for the property to be developed.

However, in recent months the City staff has floated proposals for the City to provide sewer service for Montava instead of BSD. If that occurs, BSD’s financial planning will be seriously disrupted and BSD’s 15,000+ existing customers – who include many City residents – will have to pay much higher rates.

Last May, the BSD Board of Directors started inviting the City Council to meet with it about this grave policy matter of one service provider intruding into the established service area of another provider. That invitation has been extended numerous times since, but the Council hasn’t accepted. BSD’s Board of Directors wants direct collaboration with the City Council and customary regional utility studies through intergovernmental agreements.

Now, the Council is preparing to consider the first of Montava’s land use approvals. The developer claims that the amenities and housing types the City wants him to provide will cost him so much money that he won’t be able to pay BSD’s regular fees that are charged uniformly to everyone.

Those fees haven’t changed since the developer came to BSD requesting the commitment to serve, and they are being paid by many other developers with successful projects in BSD’s service area. Moreover, the sewer facilities of the City were not built and paid for by City residents in order to serve Montava, but rather to serve projects within the City’s own sewer service area.

What does all this mean?

BSD respectfully requests that:

  • The City Council take no action that harms BSD’s existing customers or upends BSD’s financial plan.
  • The Council not turn to City staff to learn about BSD, but rather engage directly with BSD’s Board of Directors to inform itself appropriately of the sewer issues and the immense consequences if the City tries to serve Montava.
  • The Council defer land use approvals for Montava until the developer finalizes a sewer plan for the project that respects and does not disturb the long-range utility planning BSD has performed, relied on, and followed for many years.