Water providers throughout Douglas County are one step closer to filling their buckets, as the county paved the way for another option to finance long-term water projects.
The board of county commissioners on July 10 established the Douglas County water and wastewater enterprise, opening the door to bring money to the table for long-term water development.
The enterprise allows the county to issue revenue bonds secured by future revenues from water providers who pass muster, said Lance Ingalls, county attorney. The enterprise, through state statute, allows the county to issue the revenue bonds to qualifying providers on a project-by-project basis, Ingalls said.
County Commissioner Jack Hilbert, District 1, introduced the providers present at the meeting who were pivotal in the creation of the enterprise. Those providers included partners in the South Metro Water Supply Authority, a coalition of more than a dozen providers that include Castle Rock, Parker, Roxborough and Stonegate. The enterprise allows any water provider to bring a proposal to the table.
The authority was focused primarily on advancing the water infrastructure and supply efficiency project that is pivotal to filling the Rueter-Hess reservoir, said Eric Hecox, authority spokesman.
“This enterprise is opening the door for the county to be a catalyst for partnership to meet our renewable water needs,” Hecox said. “Having a partner as big a player as the county gives us the opportunity to meet our regional long term challenges.”
The strength of the county’s borrowing power bumps the water game up a notch in Douglas County, said Jill Repella, commissioner, District 2. Repella was part of the conversations with providers who made it clear the county’s role is critical to the success of any effort toward bringing long-term water to Douglas County.
“The bottom line is that by partnering with the county through the enterprise … there are better financing terms and greater financing abilities,” Repella said. “Douglas County as a whole now has a larger voice and the opportunity to have a voice at the federal level, state level, regionally. We now have a bigger single voice that represents all of the citizens of Douglas County, that represents all of the water districts. That is going to go a long way.”
The end of the meeting resulted in a series of cross-checking schedules as providers negotiated the best time to meet to begin drafting a contract. The dates were filling up within 24 hours of the commissioners’ approval of the enterprise.
No bonds will be issued until a project is analyzed and selected and a contract is signed, Ingalls said.