The Thursday, Nov. 7 meeting of the Board of County Commissioners came and went without a mention of Westminster’s water issues, thus differentiating that meeting from last week’s and the one held Sept. 19.

Various commissioners have called out Westminster officials for dragging their feet on bringing a new everyday water source online (Medford Quarry), for failing to pass along requested information, for not recognizing there is no need for a meeting until the commissioners have that information and for the two sides not being “in sync."


Meanwhile, Westminster Mayor Joe Dominick and Councilman Ben Yingling told us that all the information that has been requested is readily available, that their water and sewer allocation policy is not something that can be adequately summed up in a simple email, and that they want to get together to explain why the Medford Quarry project has been complicated and time-consuming.

The commissioners made it clear on Oct. 31 their frustration was rising.

“Understanding the water situation and water allocation is critical. And right now I am not confident that we are in sync with Westminster leadership ... what the situation is, and their policies on water allocation," Commissioner Ed Rothstein, R-District 5, said. “I have requested and continue to request that we understand that and get that documentation. From that point, it would be a great opportunity for us to then get together with the leadership in Westminster to come up with processes and solutions.”

Dennis Frazier, R-District-3, noted he was looking for “hard numbers.”

“I’d like to know exactly how much water is available for industrial growth, commercial growth and residential growth,” he said. “In order for us to work cooperatively with them it would be nice to know how much water there is. Is there an urgent need or not? ... Until we know the facts around that, we can’t really work that well or help them out in any sense.

“We don’t need a meeting to find out the facts. Just send us the information. Then we can have a meeting to go over how we can help each other out.”

The commissioners are concerned that a lack of water in Westminster is stunting development, specifically keeping businesses from opening. Westminster officials say the last thing they want to do is turn away business, but that the allocation policy they have put in place is essential for planning ahead and avoiding a moratorium on development like the one that ran for several months starting in June 2017.

“We’re very happy to make it very clear to the top levels of the county what that plan is,” Yingling told us “We want to be partners.”

And they say they want to meet in person to help the commissioners and their staff understand the water and sewer policy. When it was first introduced to the mayor and council, it took several meetings and a whole wall of charts and illustrations to explain, Dominick told us. Water and sewer resources are limited in the city, he continued, and budgeting them is as complex as budgeting the city’s finances. Regarding Medford Quarry, Dominick said: “This is a complicated situation, and the commissioners would absolutely understand if they met with us. But for the past three weeks, they have refused to schedule a meeting.”

When Commissioner President Stephan Wantz, R-District 1, was asked about Medford Quarry — a topic he tackled during the Sept. 19 meeting — he said the best thing for all the stakeholders to do would be to communicate.

“Communication — that’s how you typically fix those issues,” he told us.

He’s exactly right. And the commissioners should heed that advice. The Westminster mayor and council want to get together to get inside and behind the “hard numbers.” To explain their rationale behind the city’s plans for the short and long term. With all necessary numbers and other information on hand, and the ability to ask and answer questions, a lot could be accomplished during part of a future Thursday morning.

Both sides appear to want to work together. It shouldn’t be so difficult to make it happen.