Severance pay cuts $2 million budget in North Weld Water tap moratorium

The halt to new building permits spurred by the North Weld County Water District’s moratorium on new water faucets prompted the town of Severance to cut nearly $2 million from its 2022 budget.

The budget, passed Nov. 23, cut spending on a variety of capital improvement projects as the city seeks to adjust to lower building permit and impact fees — currently non-existent — as well as to reduced user fees for building materials.

Severance pay in 2021 raised $1 million in building permit fees, up from nearly $1.8 million in 2020, according to the city’s budget and financial documents. Use taxes on building materials generated $1.95 million through November last year, compared to $3.28 million in 2020.

Issuance of building permits fell from more than 600 in 2020 to around 400 in 2021 when the moratorium took effect in October, Severance Town Manager Nicholas Wharton told BizWest.

“Because we put the moratorium on at the end of everything, it almost cut us in half,” Wharton said. “We only had just under 400 permits, and who knows what’s going to happen right now, because we don’t have any.”

Wharton said the moratorium prompted the city to cut its budget, affecting a variety of capital projects.

“It’s our whole future,” Wharton said. “Because the growth is not continuing, we have had to essentially scale back all of our capital projects and focus only on the most important ones.”

Among the cuts:

  • A plan to revamp the skateboard park at Lakeview Park.
  • A program to put lights in all the parks.
  • A traffic light at Weld County Roads 19 and 74.
  • Delay of a collaborative project with the University of Colorado at Denver on the construction of an amphitheater.

The break imposed a moratorium on the issuance of new building permits in October in response to a moratorium on new water taps issued by North Weld as the district grapples with potential pipeline construction delays 5.3 miles stretching east from North Timberline Road in Fort Collins. unincorporated Larimer County, as well as other capacity issues.

The Larimer County portion of the NEWT III pipeline has been delayed as the county revises 1041 bylaws to regulate water projects.

The North Weld County Water District imposed the moratorium in the fall, extended it until December 13, then extended it until May 31.

Eric Reckentine, district manager for the North Weld County Water District, told BizWest that the council would consider partially lifting the moratorium in February, but not lifting it completely.

“I asked the board at our last board meeting, based on our new analysis, to lift the moratorium on limited faucet sales,” Reckentine said. “We are putting a policy in place to do this, and I present it to the board of directors.”

He said he did not yet know how many taps might be allowed under a new policy.

Reckentine added that district officials will meet with Larimer County in January to discuss Regulation 1041 and its potential impact on the NEWT III pipeline.

This article was first published by BizWest, an independent news agency, and is published under a license agreement. © 2022 BizWestMedia LLC.

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