Mar 15, 2010 9:45 PM by Jessica Michaels
Everybody needs water. Some Cimarron Hills residents are learning the hard way just how it can be to meet that need.
Starting this February, rates for customers at the Cherokee Metropolitan District increased 87 percent. Many factors have affected this drastic jump. General Manager Kip Peterson tells News First Five that the contract Cherokee had with Colorado Springs Utilities expired at the beginning of this year. The new contract that is under negotiation increases the water rates that Cherokee will have to pay Springs Utilities by 187 percent.
"As a result of that increase," Kip says "in order to fund it, Cherokee had to raise its water rates 87 percent. It is highly unusual. We did not anticipate having a water rate increase that steep."
Peterson also says that he had no other option. He argues the rate increase is necessary to afford the water that Cherokee will purchase this summer. Without the increase, outside irrigation during the summer months would be completely prohibited.
"A lot of people are questioning the motives behind this rate increase. Profit is not the motive," he assures.
Residents are still upset.
"I'm beyond shocked," says George Ross. "My retirement pay doesn't go up. It is tied to the cost of the economy. If it doesn't go up, and the water bills keep going up, I just may have to cut back."
Even with the rate increase, Cherokee residents will see restrictions this summer. The plan is to allow people to water two times per week.