A car passes by a pothole on West Ninth Street in the Shadow Mountain subdivision.

Mary Austin

A car passes by a pothole on West Ninth Street in the Shadow Mountain subdivision.

Shadow Mountain infrastructure improvements take step forward with hiring of an attorney

Improvement district needed if plans are to continue


In other action...

During its regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday, the Moffat County Commission:

• Heard an elk herd population presentation from Darby Finley and Bill deVergie of Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

• Approved, 2-0, division orders between Shell Western Exploration and Production LP and the Museum of Northwest Colorado.

• Approved, 2-0, sending a letter to the Bureau of Land Management about supplemental feeding.

• Approved, 2-0, waiving the bid process for crack seal materials.

• Approved, 2-0, an ordinance prohibiting retail marijuana businesses.

Commissioner John Kinkaid was absent from Tuesday's meeting.


“Why do I need new lines when they’re working fine? I don’t want to be forced into a debt I can’t afford. I think they should just leave it all alone.”

Phil Hawks about proposed improvement projects to Shadow Mountain

— Shadow Mountain, its residents and a long list of improvement projects continue to be top of mind for Moffat County elected officials and employees.

On Tuesday, the Moffat County commissioners moved ahead with hiring a contract attorney to help guide them through the next phase of the project — establishing a special improvement district.

The Shadow Mountain subdivision has posed a number of unique challenges since commissioners began discussing capital improvement projects last year, Moffat County Developmental Services Director Roy Tipton said.

Though it is located in Moffat County, Shadow Mountain residents receive water and sewer services from the city of Craig. The county and the city have partnered on a project that would replace water and sewer main lines as well as bring improved roads, curbs and gutters to the subdivision.

But Tipton said Tuesday it wouldn’t make sense for the city to replace the water and sewer mains unless residents also upgrade their service lines at the same time.

The service lines running from the mains to each individual home are the responsibility of the property owners, Tipton said. Replacing the service lines is estimated to cost $4,000 per home, or $1.3 million for the entire subdivision.

Rather than require homeowners to incur that expense up front, the city and the county have been investigating ways to acquire a loan. One such way is to establish an improvement district that would allow the city and the county to acquire a loan through the Colorado Department of Local Affairs or float a bond.

Residents would then pay that loan back either on an annual basis through their property taxes, or monthly through a $10 to $15 dollar increase in their water bill. Commissioners expect the term of a loan to be about 20 years.

There are several types of improvement districts depending on the governing entity and the scope of the project, which is where Carolynne White, of Brownstein, Hyatt, Farber & Schreck in Denver, comes in.

White was hired Tuesday on the recommendation of Moffat County Attorney Rebecca Tyree to guide the commission through its sea of special improvement district options. White’s fee is $18,000.

Regardless of the type of improvement district that is established, Shadow Mountain residents will ultimately have the final say as to whether to move forward with the project.

And the project has been receiving lukewarm support since it was first announced.

Shadow Mountain resident Markus Nielson already replaced his service lines 10 to 13 years ago and would likely be exempt from having to upgrade them again. Even so, he said Tuesday improvements to his subdivision are long overdue.

“It needs to happen,” Nielson said. “Everything needs to be brought up to code because things change over time.

“But I think the city should maintain the whole infrastructure if they want people to upgrade their service lines.”

Phil Hawks, also of Shadow Mountain, took the opposite position. He doesn’t see the sense in spending money on a project to improve problems that don’t exist.

“Why do I need new (service) lines when they’re working fine?” Hawks said. “I don’t want to be forced into a debt I can’t afford. I think they should just leave it all alone.”

Later this month the city and the county will sit down with representatives from DOLA to discuss a $1 million grant application for Shadow Mountain infrastructure improvements.

City and county officials plan to schedule a series of public meetings in Shadow Mountain after its March 21 meeting with DOLA.

Joe Moylan can be reached at 875-1794 or jmoylan@craigdailypress.com.


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