With two new ballot initiatives presented and potentially voted upon this fall, Greeley could end up being the only city in Colorado that requires a special election for basic, routine water decisions.

In a press release from the City of Greeley, they talked about the new ballot measures that have been introduced. The new measures would require water management decisions to be voted on as much as five times a year. Keep in mind, each special election is estimated at $200,000.

Harold Evans, chairman of the Greeley Water and Sewer Board, said "the proposed charter would impair Greeley's ability to make smart, timely water decisions". He also mentioned that the potential changes because of the proposed measures would most likely increase water rates for residents.

If the ballots were to pass, each election would go through a bit of a process for each water-related decision. The City of Greeley would have to have a consultation with an external engineering firm to look at projects that have been proposed and to confirm the resources in consideration. All of this would have to take place before any item was set to a vote.

Evans reassured Greeley residents that the system in place now has worked and served the community well. He spoke on the current board's experience, saying:

We have a robust and reliable water system managed by experienced and independent board members [...] There are significant checks and balances as well as opportunities for the public to have a say in water decisions under our existing charter.

The new initiatives would not only potentially increase tax rates, but they could impact the process of water trade with area farmers. In turn, the extended voting process for each election could have a high impact on regional farms and the economy.

The domino effect would be major, even trickling down so far to the water used to irrigate parks and land. That water, currently non-potable, would need to be treated, decreasing the availability of drinkable water for residents.

If you want to know more and stay informed on these measures leading into the fall, you can learn more at Greeleygov.com/YourGreeleyWater.

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