Read the first part
The operation of the pipeline was delayed by mechanical problems with the pumps installed to move effluent to the plant, and by the mediation of a dispute with PAWSD…
— “Pipeline operations continue to be delayed” in the weekly Pagosa Springs SUN, May 5, 2016.
Councilwoman Nicole Pitcher and Pagosa Springs Mayor Don Volger — who both served at their last city council meeting on Thursday — agreed and disagreed on a wide range of issues over the course of six last years.
Both have also, I think, grown in compassion and discernment during their tenures.
We have quoted them both on occasion here in the Daily post. This may be the perfect time to quote a few more comments from them, as our elected representatives.
After Ms Pitcher finished delivering her farewell message to the rest of her colleagues at last Thursday’s meeting – as shared yesterday in Part 2 – our Mayor, Don Volger, also offered some thoughts on his retirement from Council. after 13 years of service. , as a member of the council and then as mayor.
He began by congratulating Ms. Pitcher…
“I’ve seen so much growth and so much understanding from the time I remember you were sitting there [in the audience of a Council meeting]…back when we were doing that Reservoir Hill thing. And it was so controversial, and I thought, ‘Who East this girl?’ I mean, she’s tough, but…man!
The comment sparked laughter in the council.
“And I just saw an incredible shift in understanding and maturity, and a deeper love for the community…”
The mayor is referring here to what has been a trying experience for him. The city’s tourism committee had presented a $4.5 million plan to set up a small amusement park atop Reservoir Hill Park – the wilderness park adjacent to the Great Pagosa Hot Springs – and the city council had passed the plan as an official city project, even though no one could explain where the $4.5 million would come from, and even though many city taxpayers had expressed reservations about the wisdom of destroying a park quiet wilderness for the supposed benefit of tourists.
One of the most vocal critics, and one of those challenging Mr. Volger’s view of Pagosa’s future, had been Nicole Pitcher – at the time known as Nicole DeMarco.
A subsequent citizens’ petition posed the question to city voters – should the city council be required to obtain voter approval before installing mechanized amusement park rides on Reservoir Hill? The ballot measure was approved.
This was, I believe, the first time that a group of ordinary citizens had successfully used the relatively new home rule charter to control the future actions of the city council.
Then-Mayor Ross Aragon responded to the vote by declaring that the amusement park issue was dead – that the voters had spoken and the wilderness park would remain undeveloped.
Then-Council member Don Volger was quoted in the local paper, however, as disagreeing with voters and wanting to go ahead with the amusement park.
As I mentioned, Mayor Volger and Councilman Pitcher have matured since the Reservoir Hill vote. In my opinion, both have developed a greater appreciation for differing perspectives.
The mayor continued his closing comments during Thursday’s meeting:
“It has been a joy…an absolute joy…and a privilege to be able to serve in this capacity. And you know some of my cops [background] and so you know it’s not about me. I play my part, or I try to… but I’m a fool, and [Town Clerk April Hessman and Council parliamentarian] caught me I don’t know how many times, and I really appreciate that.
“But you know, we can’t do it without doing it together. And that’s the culture that we were able to develop. I made some suggestions, and you said, “Okay!” And we did it together…
“…I really appreciate you all, and there are a lot of things that I will miss. But I think it’s the right time… I’m so confident that you’re going to take it to the next level.
He turned to Mrs. Pitcher.
“And you’re not done yet. You may have finished for that particular season, for many reasons, but you haven’t finished yet. Agreed?
“And the others, you’re still stuck here, so…”
The Council laughed.
That pretty much wrapped up the Council meeting… except…
…the Council also serves as the Board of Directors for the Pagosa Springs General Sanitation Improvement District (PSSGID). And on Thursday night, we learned how stuck the city’s management seems, over the issue of the city’s sewer pipeline, which began operations in 2016, following a somewhat complicated to revise the intergovernmental agreement between PSSGID and Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District (PAWSD).
Here, again, is this quote from May 5, 2016, Pagosa Springs SUN item:
Operation of the pipeline was delayed by mechanical problems with the pumps installed to move effluent upstream of the plant, and by the mediation of a dispute with PAWSD…
Nearly six years later, the sewer system continues to experience pump failures at an appalling rate as it struggles to pump 250,000 gallons of sewage a day seven miles upriver from the station. purifying Vista…
According to the agenda notes from last Thursday’s PSSGID meeting, written by City Manager Andrea Phillips:
Unfortunately, since the start of the project in 2016, the two main pumping stations have had problems with the pumps. The original pumps had several failures (some repaired and some damaged so badly they couldn’t be used again). The upgraded pumps have all broken down since being installed. Existing pumps continued to have problems with seals, bearings and electrical components. Some of the pumps could be repaired by a certified pump technician (All American Technical in Farmington), but some could not be repaired due to failure. The added stresses on the system also caused odor and electrical issues. In the face of these challenges, the staff has done a phenomenal job of keeping the lift stations pumping…
Over the past month, the PSSGID Board of Directors (City Council) has approved nearly $100,000 to be spent on the pumps.
Read part four, tomorrow…
Bill Hudson began to share his opinions in the Pagosa Daily Post in 2004 and cannot break this habit. He says that in Pagosa Springs, notices are like vans: everyone has one.