Nyquist: "Water District Expansion was Encouraged by Richard Miller and Craig Curl"
By William C. Thomas
Before an estimated 300+ not very happy spectators in the Legacy Academy Gym on Wednesday night, August 17, 2011, Karl Nyquist, in the second of his Elbert County presentations, asserted twice that he had been encouraged to expand his water district by Elbert County Planner Richard Miller and Elbert County Enterprise Authority Director Craig Curl, the latter of whom is the President of Colorado Water Plans, located in Elizabeth. (See "The Many Faces of Craig Curl" and "Craig Curl Walks Out of 1st Public Forum")
Nyquist, whose presentation was more efficiently run than the first in Simla, did not dwell at length on his water in the Lamar Canal; he merely mentioned that he had 8-10,000 "consumptive acre feet" of water rights to farms in Prowers County and the Arkansas Basin. He would build a pipeline, he said, having optioned a right of way that used to contain a gas pipeline, from Lamar to Wild Pointe, thereby giving Elbert County "sustainable" water for years to come. (See "Karl Nyquist in Simla," Elbert-grab.com).
This would impact the economy of the County, he explained, because a sustainable source of water could lead to an enchanced commercial district and larger businesses, whom, he claimed, wanted to move where they knew water was not an issue. Of course, this would bring jobs, make property prices rise, and bring money to the County in the form of taxes and fees. Although he was not specific about the projected jobs the County would enjoy, he implied that sustainable water would bring increased prosperity for all.
Elbert County BOCC consent. He pointed out that right now he could pipe it to Falcon, the Cherokee Water District, at the "hundred year-rate," meaning that he could take 100 years worth of his water, send it to Falcon, and nobody could tell him no.
What he wants to do, however, with his pipeline, is increase the amount of water available to developments not yet built and existing developments, and supplement his personal water with more from Prowers County, which is why the Elbert and Hwy 86 Water District has asked for permission from the Elbert Board of County Commissioners. Nyquist pointed out that his pipeline would help Brittany Ridge, Spring Valley, and Banderra, among other developments, and that a water district's participation in its product would be voluntary.
Of course, Nyquist admitted, the project was not without its risks, or its profits. Approval by the BOCC would mean that he could be eligible for greater funding, "which will never impact the County if we go belly up," his lawyer, Dianne Miller confirmed, and which could earn him twice what he invested, according to Nyquist. If the District were unable to pay its bills, he asserted, the bill would go to "other districts," meaning that anyone who'd signed on to the project and the pipeline would pay for the debts; not Elbert County or Wild Pointe. This could mean that Cherokee Water District users would be liable for an astronomical hike in their water bills, as would anyone else using Nyquist's pipeline.
When asked why a small district of only 39 acres without a Board of Directors elected county wide could exercise such power, Nyquist's lawyer, Dianne Miller, explained that the Elbert and Hwy 86 Water District was a legal entity, recognized by the State of Colorado and established within its laws and regulations. Elections and bond issues and other public measures were duly voted on by people within that district and its activities, such as uses of money and infrastructure, were monitored by the County BOCC.** Their burden, she explained, was to appeal to the BOCC if they wished to change any part of their purpose, which Amendment 3 is all about.
That the Board of Directors of Elbert and Hwy 86 is the owners and investors of the Water District and their wives, Ms. Miller explained, after patronizingly badgering George Saum, her questioner, and Bill Harris, who'd asked why this issue couldn't be put before a vote of the citizens of Elbert County. She pointed out that Title 32 of the State Statutes permitted the existence of this special district and that there were a number like it throughout the State.
Mr. Nyquist said, and Ms. Miller confirmed that although the Water District cannot "take" water, they can condemn land.
Nyquist also had Sarah Kolz, an engineer, take notes during the questioning period; making specific reference to the names of the questioners, which he asked for before addressing the questions. He did not explain why he wanted the names of his questioners; nor why they were being recorded.
Unhappy citizens for what became standing room only
Crowd's questions answered with confusing non-specifics
Karl Nyquist, star of the show
Although he had already said he personally owns a number of acre feet underneath Wild Pointe, that number seems to have changed: he now says it's 110,000 acre feet, which he can sell to northern El Paso County without
** Not True, but see how well monitored they are HERE