The City of Caliente City Council held a special meeting Oct. 23 to discuss the approval of proceeding with water right applications that were totaling more than $28,000 in fees. Mayor Stana Hurlburt was absent from the meeting. Acting Mayor Pro Tem Steve Rowe presided over the council.
After the settlement with the State Engineer last year, certificated water rights went to a permit status, and refilling had to be completed in order to be recertified. The six pending water applications combined, total $28,269, which the City has not had budgeted. The Council has to pay fees to continue the process of the water applications, or they will lose the permits and have to pay for the process to start all over again.
At the meeting, City Attorney Dylan Frehner presented a proposal that would work for the City’s budget and pending water right certificates and permits. He said, “The certificates still in certificate status are our number one priority.”
The water applications in question are numbers 83307 through 83312. Two of the water applications, numbers 83307 for 405 acre feet and 83308 for 104 acre feet, have fees that total $2,097 to continue processing. Permit 83312 has fees that total $3,558. Together, they total $5,655.
The other three permits, 83309 to 83311, apply for much larger acre feet of water, and their fees total $22,614. These permits are permits that Frehner sees tied to a well that would be more beneficial to have the water certificates applied to. The fees for applying for an extension of time to file proof of beneficial use tied to the permits, or to change to a new place or point of diversion, total around $300 to $400. All together, slightly more than $6,000 is needed to proceed.
The next phase would be to move certificate No. 3719 from the well by Super Park, to the well by the Youth Center, so the water would be better utilized. That would be planned for in next year’s budget.
The final phase in Frehner’s proposal is to move the three permits 83309 through 83311 in the third year. Frehner said it would still total around $22,000 then, but the City has time to budget for it.
Utility Foreman Jerry Carter said $11,000 is available in the water funds, set aside for Schroeder Law Offices to handle water issues. The City felt they could use $6,000 from the funds to proceed with the proposal from Frehner.
Carter said, “It is critical we keep up the wells.” In order to keep current permits, the City of Caliente has to provide proof of beneficial use. In the judgment with the State Engineer, Caliente has five years to provide beneficial use.
The Council unanimously approved to proceed with the City Attorney’s proposal.