Another Fox in the Hen House

We are deeply concerned about an issue recently brought to our attention. This issue affects most people in the Eldorado/285 corridor and, though it saddens us to create another controversy in our community, we felt it imperative to make you aware.

On March 31, the Eldorado Water and Sanitation District held a meeting at the ECIA. The purpose of the meeting was to inform water users of EAWSD’s plans to build its own building on the lot it owns off Vista Grande.  The EAWSD has applied for a Federal grant and hopes to begin building as early as this fall.

The EAWSD stated at this meeting that the reason it needs to spend 1.4 million dollars to put a commercial building in the middle of a residential neighborhood is that the landlord has refused them a long term lease. Here is a direct quote from the minutes of that meeting:

“The building that the District currently occupies, located at 1 Caliente Road, was sold in a foreclosure sale in October 2012, and the new owner is not amenable to extending a long term lease to the District. This puts the District’s operations at risk and increases the urgency to acquire a permanent facility.”

In discussion following the General Manager’s presentation, an attendee, “expressed concern that the District is operating from a facility that is leased on a month to month basis; it puts the whole community at risk. She stated that there are probably a lot of other projects that deserve equal attention, but in her opinion, this project is a priority.”

Another attendee inquired about purchasing the building the EAWSD already occupies and was told by the General Manager that, “It was considered, but turned out to be the most expensive alternative at a cost of approximately $2M.  The  current  building  also  does  not  adequately  meet  the  need  for  an  operations maintenance facility workshop and would incur additional cost to build one. The total cost of the proposed Combined Facility building is $1.4M based on a 20 year economic analysis.”

Unfortunately, it’s all a lie.

We are the landlords and we are blown away by the GM’s statements. Here is a direct quote from an email Steve sent to the GM on October 17, 2012:

“Moving forward I see three options for the EAWSD with regard to the building.

1.  The EAWSD may continue to occupy the building on a month to month basis at the existing rates.  This agreement would be in writing and would require a 30 day notice by the EAWSD to vacate.  It would also require a 30 day notice from La Tienda to terminate the EAWSD occupancy in the building.

This option does not require any commitment from the EAWSD but it also lacks any security for either La Tienda or the EAWSD.  Without a long term commitment from the EAWSD, I would begin actively looking for a new tenant willing to lease the building.

2.  The EAWSD may enter into a new lease agreement for the currently used space or more.

3.  La Tienda is exploring the option of turning the building into a condo.  We would split the building into two spaces.

The EAWSD may purchase the building, less the space occupied by Dr Richey.  In exchange for the sole use of the dirt lot, the EAWSD would provide and maintain the public restrooms in the building and allow continued used to dentist office staff and customers.

La Tienda is offering this at $1,220,000.”

 

Here is a link where you can view both documents and decide for yourself if the EAWSD is deliberately misleading it members for reasons unknown.

Our offer to the EAWSD is ongoing and has been reiterated regularly. We would much prefer for them to be on a lease or to purchase the building they occupy. We have repeatedly been told that they want to be on a month to month because they eventually want to own their own building.

Their statement regarding us, the landlord, is not only an outright lie. It is potentially fraud. We have asked for a copy of the Federal grant application. If it turns out that they used this same reason for needing Federal money for a building, then it may be criminal.

Regardless, the EAWSD is perpetuating a lie to convince water users of the absolute need for a building it will own and maintain in perpetuity. As landlords, we strongly object to being used in this manner.

As water users on four separate properties, we have to ask ourselves the following questions:

Why did the GM lie so blatantly?

Is the Board aware of the lie and endorsing it? If so, why?

If the Board is not aware, then why is the GM lying?

If the Board is not aware, then why did it fail so miserably in its due diligence to contact us regarding a lease or purchase option and vacate its responsibility as fiscal steward?

If the EAWSD has lied about this, what else have they lied about and how will this lie (or any other) affect our water rates for the foreseeable future?

 

We’re angry, both as landlords and users. We’re also worried. Still, our offer to the EAWSD stands. They may continue on a month to month, sign a long term lease, or purchase the building at a fair market rate. That allows the time this community needs to fully explore the feasibility of a new building without the EAWSD creating unnecessary fear around the issue.  We hope you read the documents in full, evaluate without fear, and address the issue responsibly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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