Item Coversheet

Agenda Item - 2.

Staff Report

City Council Pre/Post Briefing Meeting
March  28, 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: 

Sarah Borgers, Interim Director of Public Works and Utilities

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 is providing a status update on activities that have occurred since the publication of the February 28, 2022, 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 was 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. It passed second reading on January 10, 2022, and became 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 (the project for replacing the Semper Water Treatment Plant) design contracts currently in progress.

    STATUS UPDATE: 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)

  • 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 was to be scheduled in early 2022 to continue that discussion.

    STATUS UPDATE: A follow up Executive Session was held on February 7, 2022, with City Council, Staff, and the City's Special Counsel. Staff will continue with work towards the May 2022 court date to finalize land acquisition proceedings.

  • City Council requested a tour of the Semper Water Treatment Facility (Semper).

    STATUS UPDATE: A tour of Semper was conducted for City Council on January 4, 2022. Staff provided responses to a number of questions following the tour. City Council also requested tours of the Municipal Services Center (MSC) campus and the Northwest Water Treatment Plant. Those tours have been scheduled for two dates  (February 10 and March 1) to accommodate the City Council schedules. The first tour was completed on February 10, and per agreement from City Council, City Manager's Office and Staff, no tour was held for the March 1 date.

  • 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.

    STATUS UPDATE: Staff brought an analysis of the proposal's financial impacts to City Council on January 24, 2022. On January 28, 2022, Councillors Baker and Seymour submitted a modified residential water and sewer rate proposal and asked Staff to review the impacts in the Water/Sewer Utility Financial models. Staff completed the analysis and met with Councillors Baker and Seymour on February 3, 2022, to model, review and discuss the impacts. The details of that analysis can be found on the City's website here:


  • A follow-up session with Councillors Baker and Seymour occurred on February 16, 2022, to review modeling scenarios and answer questions in preparation for a meeting with City Council on February 22, 2022. Staff prepared five different rate scenarios to review with City Council at the Special Study Session on February 22, 2022, based on the input received by all of City Council in previous public meetings. At the close of the February 22, 2022, meeting, City Council provided direction to bring forward to the February 28, 2022, regular City Council meeting an ordinance on first reading to amend the 2022 water rates based on the preferred rate scenario presented by Staff, with one modification per City Council's direction.

    STATUS UPDATE: City Council passed the amended 2022 water rates on first reading (February 28) and upon second reading (March 14). The targeted implementation date for this amended residential water rate schedule is June 1, 2022, subject to utility billing system configuration constraints; Staff is currently working to program the rate changes in the utility billing software program.


  • 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. As a follow-up to that study, a re-evaluation and side-by-side comparison to the Water 2025 project will be conducted over the next several months, depending on scope.


STATUS UPDATE: On February 14, 2022, City Council directed Staff to proceed with an evaluation of the Semper Water Treatment Plant and other associated sites. This work will utilize existing funds and is intended to focus on feasibility, how to rehabilitate/rebuild the Semper plant, and the risks associated. Staff is working hard to complete this analysis in four months. Staff is amending that work to include the review of adjacent sites to the MSC/Semper campus. Please see the February 14, 2022, Staff Report and the separate Staff Report in this agenda packet (March 28, 2022) for more information. Staff will begin to report on this project in a regular and separate report to City Council.


  • 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 contacted the participants suggested by Mayor McNally, as well as contacted two regional utility providers. This roundtable meeting was held on February 17, 2022, and was open to the public as well as livestreamed.

  • City Council requested that all water use be reflected on water bills in gallon units, instead of 1,000 gallon units.

    STATUS UPDATE: The implementation of the new rate structure and tiers, along with the water consumption application have both taken priority over the single-gallon billing project and will commence when Staff resources are available.

  • City Council requested that customers facing water shutoffs for non-payment be be given 60 days' notice instead of 45 days' notice.

    STATUS UPDATE: This was completed for the December bills. December 2021 billings were not subject to disconnection for non-payment until February 2022.

  • City Council requested that the City make all water use reading cycles a consistent 30/31 days.

    STATUS UPDATE: The 30/31 reading cycles went into effect with the January water use readings. 


Receiving this information advances the City's Strategic Plan goal to advance 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,

Larry Dorr
Acting City Manager