Castle Pines North Inclusion
The Parker Water & Sanitation District (PWSD) has a responsibility to our customers to be fiscally responsible while also providing reliable water and wastewater service. With this in mind, we are proceeding with an opportunity to include a neighboring water provider into our system.
In December 2018, the Castle Pines North Metropolitan District (CPNMD) approached PWSD about including CPNMD’s water and wastewater facilities and operations into PWSD’s service area. New neighborhood developments are incorporated into PWSD on a regular basis by action of PWSD's Board of Directors. CPNMD would be the largest inclusion (by population) to date.
PWSD and CPNMD are committed to a plan that benefits both parties and believe that the proposed plan does so.
What does inclusion mean?
In basic terms, inclusion means adding property to the boundaries of PWSD. New neighborhood developments are incorporated into PWSD on a regular basis by action of PWSD's Board of Directors.
In this case, inclusion encompasses the existing water and wastewater infrastructure of CPNMD. Because this is the largest inclusion (by population) to date, PWSD and CPNMD commissioned a feasibility study to determine the best path forward. If the inclusion is approved, CPNMD will no longer be in the business of providing water and wastewater services.
How did PWSD and CPNMD assess the feasibility of the inclusion?
PWSD and CPNMD contracted with multiple experts to determine the feasibility of including CPNMD into PWSD. They studied the financial, engineering, and legal questions such as rate-structures, assessing the value of water rights, water infrastructure, water and wastewater demand and treatment capacities that would be impacted by the inclusion. The inclusion plan, as we’ve outlined it, is based on the results of the integration feasibility study.
Why does PWSD want to take this on?
Water is a shared resource and PWSD believes that working collaboratively as a region is the best option for a sustainable, resilient water future.
The economics of water require that we move beyond building and maintaining individual water systems. Building strategic partnerships helps PWSD to maximize our efficiencies and economies of scale and provide affordable rates to all of our service areas.
This plan for inclusion of CPNMD provides for a continued stable financial environment, enabling a focus on more long-term solutions. PWSD comes to this deal from a position of financial strength. If the deal is completed, PWSD will continue to be in very good financial health.
Additionally, PWSD currently maintains interconnections with Denver, Aurora and Castle Rock’s water systems to provide a redundant supply of water in the event of an emergency. CPNMD has water rights on the South Platte River, which are used to help meet their current demand. If the inclusion is approved, PWSD would take ownership of the CPNMD’s infrastructure and water rights on “Day 1” of the inclusion. Once the interconnect with CPNMD’s system is complete, PWSD would have access to another redundant supply of water, from Centennial Water and Sanitation District, in the event of an emergency.
Will my water & wastewater rates increase because of the inclusion?
By applying economies of scale, this plan will enable us to apply cost efficiencies that will benefit both PWSD and CPNMD customers. Outside of PWSD’s annual inflationary rate increases, the rates that PWSD’s customers currently pay will not be impacted by the inclusion. To determine your estimated monthly residential water bill please visit our online bill calculator.
Will my property taxes increase because of the inclusion?
PWSD currently receives a portion of its funding from customers’ property taxes. If the inclusion is approved, PWSD customers will see a reduction in PWSD's portion of their property tax rates. By expanding PWSD’s customer base, the amount of property taxes needed from current PWSD customers will be lower. The actual amount of reduction will be based on the assessed value of your home. Based on the average home value in Parker (per Zillow) property taxes would decrease approximately $54 annually.
How big is PWSD and how much bigger will it become?
PWSD provides water to approximately 17,500 customers today. The inclusion of CPNMD will add an additional 3,500 accounts to our service area.
What are the risks?
Because CPNMD will be transferring ownership of their water and wastewater assets to PWSD following inclusion, a condition assessment of those assets was completed during the integration feasibility study. The thoroughness of this report leads to less risk of unanticipated problems with those assets.
Following the assessment, PWSD and CPNMD have agreed that CPNMD will provide the following to help mitigate PWSD’s risk:
- $34.8 million in cash to offset the total cost of including CPNMD into PWSD. Examples of some of these costs will include, water rights in Logan County, already-completed infrastructure improvements to support an expansion of the PWSD’s water purification facility, adding the pipeline between the two systems, adding Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) to CPNMD’s system, addressing the items in the condition assessment report, expansion to PWSD’s water purification facility, and participation in the long-term renewable water plan.
- CPNMD will reduce its current mill levy (property tax) by an amount equal to the mill levies assessed by PWSD. Those mill levies will be paid to PWSD in the future. By spreading out the PWSD mill levy over a larger population of customers, PWSD’s mill levy for its existing customers will be lower than it would otherwise have been.
- In the event there is not sufficient cash on Day 1, the agreement provides for CPNMD’s customers to pay a nominal surcharge on their monthly bills for up to 10 years, or until such time as any deficiency is satisfied.
What happens to CPNMD’s current debt? Will PWSD customers feel the burden of it?
With CPNMD’s cash on hand, plus proceeds from selling CPNMD farm water/storage rights on the South Platte, all of CPNMD’s current debt and liabilities would be settled during the inclusion process.
Why don’t PWSD’s customers need to vote on the inclusion?
PWSD has a standard set of inclusion rules that we rely on when deciding whether or not to include another water system. These rules outline the process for inclusion, which include a system assessment, risk analysis and Board approval. The entity that is asking to be included needs to legally affirm that they want to be included, which in this case requires a public vote.
What are the next steps?
The PWSD Board will have to approve the inclusion resolution. Ultimately, the customers of CPNMD will vote whether this moves forward. This vote is tentatively scheduled for May 4, 2021. The following is the tentative schedule for important steps towards the final Inclusion (some steps may be subject to change):
Dec. 14, 2020 – CPNMD Board approved a resolution requesting inclusion into PWSD and sent the executed resolution to Board of PWSD
Jan. 14, 2021 - PWSD Board meeting. First reading on CPNMD resolution requesting the inclusion.
Jan. 28, 2021 - PWSD Board meeting. Second reading on CPNMD resolution requesting the inclusion. PWSD first reading on its final resolution consenting to inclusion.
Feb. 11, 2021 - Public meeting and second reading by PWSD Board on final adoption of inclusion resolution and consideration and approval of inclusion agreement. To submit questions in advance, or attend the meeting via Zoom, please click here.
TBD – Election Day
TBD Following Election - Court issues order granting Inclusion, subject to the terms of the inclusion agreement, if a majority of the votes cast at the election are in favor of the inclusion.
TBD between Election Day - Jan. 2022 - PWSD and CPNMD prepare for PWSD to officially take over all water and wastewater operations for CPNMD on January 3, 2022 ("Day 1"), pursuant to the terms of the inclusion agreement.
After “Day 1” -
- The two systems will operate individually under PWSD at first, while the infrastructure (pipeline and pumps) needed to interconnect the two systems is constructed.
- PWSD will take over all of CPNMD’s assets on “Day 1”, including the wells, the water treatment plant, the distribution system, fleet vehicles, water rights, and CPNMD's 1500 acre feet of storage at Rueter-Hess Reservoir.
TBD 2025 – Interconnection of all infrastructure between the two systems is completed.