Some local water customers are about to see a big jump in their monthly bills.
Homeowners in Cascade will now have to pay an extra $25 each month. This all stems from an alleged embezzlement case involving a former board member.
The board passed the increase unanimously, but before doing so, wanted to make it clear that they were only raising the rates until the debt of the alleged embezzlement was paid back.
In Tuesday’s standing room only meeting, Cascade homeowners questioned the board of commissioners and expressed a lot of concerns about the future of their water usage. Cascade Metro Service provides water to homeowners in the area.
A former board member is accused of embezzling close to $500,000 from a grant used to pay Colorado Springs Utilities. CSU provides water treatment for the town; Cascade is now in debt for that amount.
“It would be nice if the previous manager that embezzled money, if he would come forward and pay back the money to the district," homeowner Sandra Lampe said.
We’re told, in settlement talks, CSU wanted that amount paid in full over the course of five years. That boiled down to $25 a month per household.
"It could go on for several years, up to five years. And it's a little unfair that we are the ones who are penalized for theft that someone else did, and then we also had a board that didn't have their ducks in a row and let this happen," homeowner Jay Vickerman said.
“The water board does a great job; they are volunteers they don't get paid. It's an unfortunate situation and we need to come together as a community and work through it,” homeowner Wayne Bland said.
The president of the board told us they are currently set for a lawsuit trial later this year. If they are successful, he said the $25 might not need to be charged any longer. There's also chance restitution could be paid to the homeowners.