By Rosalind Russell – Espanola council had an hour-long discussion on whether Boogie Mountain, the local ski hill, should get a five-year deferment on paying for water for snowmaking.
The issue had been raised at the last council meeting but was deferred to seek a legal opinion on whether the municipality could even make such a motion.
Officials say the legal opinion is because Boogie Mountain is a not-for-profit organization, it does not fall under a commercial enterprise, so council has the right to defer payments if it so wishes.
However, it was noted that doing so could set a precedent when it comes to other similar organizations that use large amounts of the resource.
In their report staff recommended council not defer the cost of water to the ski hill, which uses an average of 2-million gallons of treated water per season.
After much discussion on ways to help the hill offset the cost, council accepted the recommendation denying the deferment, but it was also noted council can reconvene and make another motion to have the cost of water for the 2024 season returned as a donation.
That discussion is expected to come up in the Spring when budget talks are underway.
Photo: Boogie Mountain has been denied its request to defer water fees for the next five years. However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel with council considering returning the water fees paid this year as a donation in 2024. That will come up for discussion in Spring budget talks. Photo – Boogie Mountain.