Item Coversheet

Agenda Item - 2.

Staff Report

City Council Pre/Post Briefing Meeting
January  10, 2022

Advance the City's long-term sustainability to provide ongoing excellence in City services and a well-planned community that meets the needs of residents now and in the future.
Water in Westminster - Update

Prepared By: 
Max Kirschbaum, Director of Public Works and Utilities 
Recommended City Council Action:
Summary Statement:


  • This report is for City Council information only and requires no action by City Council.

  • This report is intended to inform City Council of actions and activities following the November 29, 2021 Special City Council Study Session presentation titled "Water in Westminster."


  • Staff has provided a status update on activities that have occurred since the publication of the December 21, 2021 Staff Report.
Background Information:


The following actions and activities have been taken, are underway, or are planned for in the near future:

  • During the November 29, 2021 Special City Council Study Session, City Council directed Staff to return with a Councillor's Bill to make the Tier 3 water rate equal to the Tier 2 water rate, effective in January 2022. Staff prepared Councillor's Bill No. 51 on first reading, Agenda Item 10.B. for the City Council meeting on December 20, 2021. It will be effective upon passage after second reading on January 10, 2022.


STATUS UPDATE: City Council passed Councillor's Bill No. 51 on first reading on December 21, 2021. If it passes second reading on January 10, 2022, it will be effective immediately following that date.


  • During the November 29, 2021 Special City Council Study Session, City Council directed Staff to issue Stop Work Orders on Water 2025 design contracts currently in progress. Staff has issued Stop Work Orders on the following contracts:

    • Water 2025 Westminster Boulevard Raw Water Pipeline Extension Project Design Engineering Services Agreement (December 14, 2020)

    • Amendment to CDM Smith, Inc. Agreement for Final Design Services for Water 2025 (July 15, 2021)

    • Water 2025 98th Avenue Potable Water Pipeline and Supporting Utilities Design Services (July 26, 2021)


    STATUS UPDATE: Completed.


  • On December 6, 2021, an Executive Session was conducted for Consultation with the City Attorney and Special Counsel Regarding Pending Eminent Domain Litigation in Jefferson County District Court Case 2020CV30231, and for the Purpose of Receiving Legal Advice thereon, Pursuant to WMC 1-11-3(C)3 and CRS 24-6-402(4)(b) and (e)(I). A follow-up Executive Session will be scheduled in early 2022 to continue that discussion.


STATUS UPDATE: A follow up Executive Session will be scheduled.

  • City Council requested a tour of the Semper Water Treatment Facility (Semper). This tour is currently being scheduled through the City Manager's Office for members of City Council and is anticipated to occur in early January.


STATUS UPDATE: A tour of Semper was conducted for City Council on January 4, 2022.  


  • On December 4, 2021, the Interim City Manager received a written proposal from Councillors Baker and Seymour to further reduce the 2022 water and sewer rates as approved in the Westminster 2022 Budget for the Single Family Residential category of customers. Analysis of the specific proposal and other options is currently underway using the Water and Sewer financial models. The analysis of those options will be ready for review in early to mid January.


STATUS UPDATE: Staff will bring rate alternatives to City Council on January 24, 2022.

  • City Council requested Staff to reevaluate a site on or in the vicinity of the Municipal Services Center (MSC) and Semper Water Treatment Facility as an alternative to the Water 2025 site that had been under design until the Stop Work Orders were issued. The MSC/Semper site option was evaluated and rejected as part of the 2018 Site Selection Study, and a complete reevaluation and side-by-side comparison to the Water 2025 site that had been under design will be conducted over the next several months, depending on scope, which is currently being defined.


STATUS UPDATE: The gathering of information required for a complete re-evaluation for a side-by-side comparison is in progress. Staff has requested a scope of work and a fee to complete the engineering and constructability analysis that includes specialized technical work in structural and electrical engineering, hazardous material site rehabilitation, building site demolition, land acquisition and risk analysis. The work is anticipated to take a minimum of four months. Staff will provide updates. 


Staff was recently notified that the Water 2025 replacement water treatment facility was invited to apply for an EPA Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan for up to $130 million. This is one of two projects in Colorado to be accepted. WIFIA is a federally funded program to provide borrowers with innovative financing tools such as a 30-year term, up to five years of deferred repayments, a fixed interest rate locked in at the  loan closing, and other favorable features. The City may be eligible for grants. This project was selected with 13 others across the country to help protect infrastructure from the impacts of extreme weather events and the climate crisis, such as providing reliable drinking water during and after a fire in the watershed. In the context of Water 2025, a WIFIA loan will could save approximately $100 million dollars over the life of the loan. 

  • City Council discussed a suggestion from Mayor McNally for Staff to develop a plan for a roundtable discussion with City Council and outside participants focusing on the planning process for water capital improvement projects, with a particular focus on the planned replacement water treatment facility and related infrastructure. Staff is preparing a concept plan for City Council's consideration to include former City officials, a regional utility provider with similar recent experience, and possibly other third party experts. City Staff would be on hand to assist as required. Participants would receive an advance information packet and an opportunity to review the material with City Staff to maximize the benefit of the roundtable discussion with City Council. The concept plan would present a draft timeline for this to occur in early to mid January, subject to participant availability.


STATUS UPDATE: Staff has contacted the participants suggested by Mayor McNally, and has also contacted two regional utility providers. Three different dates in January 2022 have been proposed for the roundtable event. Staff will identify a venue, such as a recreation center room. Staff will provide an update as RSVPs are received and the roundtable topics of discussion are identified.

Receiving this information advances the City's Strategic Plan goal for long-term sustainability to provide ongoing excellence in City services and a well-planned community that meets the needs of residents now and into the future by providing information to City Council regarding their water and sewer utility interests.

Respectfully submitted,

Jody L. Andrews
Interim City Manager