Boulder County Commissioners approve $4M in direct payments to eligible households from the Gross Reservoir Impact Mitigation Fund

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Gross Dam construction as of June 15, 2023

Photo taken from the North Shore of Gross Reservoir (June 15, 2023) Photo credit: Barb Halpin

Boulder County Gross Reservoir Community Newsletter

June 2023

Boulder County Commissioners Approve $4M in Direct Payments to Eligible Households from the Gross Reservoir Impact Mitigation Fund

Phase 1 Mitigation Fund Distribution

The Boulder County Commissioners held a public meeting on Thursday, June 29, to review recommendations from county staff and the Gross Reservoir Mitigation Impact Fund Community Advisory Working Group to determine the amount (and distribution methodology) for Phase 1* distributions from the Gross Reservoir Community Impact Mitigation Fund ("the Fund").

Based on the presented recommendations, the Board of County Commissioners adopted a tiered payment structure that distributes $4 million from the total $5 million "Reduce Impacts to Residents" Fund described in Section 2.1 of the Denver Water vs. Boulder County Settlement Agreement.

The payments will be distributed to approximately 400 eligible property owners upon each owner's completion of paperwork required by Boulder County and current IRS regulations. (See "Next Steps" below for details.)

The tiered payment structure is outlined in the graphic below** (also available as a written/narrative description):

Tiered Payment Structure for Phase 1 Mitigation Fund Distribution

Click on the image for a written (narrative) description of the tier amounts shown in the graphic

The DRAFT Pinyon spreadsheet includes rankings to one decimal point for air, noise, and total rankings, as recommended by the Gross Reservoir Community Working Group. The spreadsheet is not considered a final report. The rankings are subject to change based on verification of visual impacts by Boulder County and the addition of ranking "anomalies" listed in the Working Group's Report and the staff recommendation adopted by the Board of County Commissioners on June 29, 2023. (A final spreadsheet will be made available in July, date TBD.)

Note: Visual impacts for direct line-of-sight and lighting impacts are still being verified by Boulder County for accuracy. If you think your visual ranking is incorrect (ranking numbers are based on distance from a lighting source or location/view), please complete the Visual/Lighting Impacts Survey.

For anyone unable to attend the June 29 meeting, a video recording will be posted on the Boulder County Open Meeting Portal after July 4.

Next Steps

  • Finalize individual household payment amounts and collect required tax information from eligible recipients. (Note: Per IRS regulations, funds must be distributed as 1099-G payments. We understand there is discord around the fact that payments are subject to IRS tax regulations. Boulder County has consulted internal and external accounting and legal experts to determine if there is a way to exempt distributions from IRS regulations, but just as with payments made for recent local disasters (e.g., the Marshall Fire), all payments to individuals are subject to IRS 1099 rules.)
    • A record of payment amounts will be posted to when all payment calculations are finalized (July timeframe).
    • Property owners of record will receive a notice in the mail of their household's individual payment amount (late July to early August timeframe) and how to claim that amount from Boulder County.
    • Deadline for Phase 1 households to claim their individual payment amount: April 30, 2024.
  • Boulder County will begin distributing checks to Gross Reservoir residents who have completed all required paperwork in August and September.

THANK YOU to the Gross Reservoir Working Group (and our facilitators from Peak Facilitation Group) for their hard work coming up with a set of recommendations that took into account the community's input and the needs of their neighbors in figuring out the fairest way to recommend distributing the first round of payments (Working Group Report and Presentation).

(**Note: the final payment calculations (graphic) reflects an adjustment by Boulder County that directs higher payments to households with significant, direct, mitigatable impacts while awarding tiered equal payments to homes in the lower impact categories.) 

Send any questions or comments to (Please note, the Gross Reservoir mailbox will not be monitored from July 1-6.)

* Because Denver Water's operational plan for tree removal around Gross Reservoir will not be available until 2024, the Boulder County Commissioners decided that tree removal impacts will not be considered in the first phase of funding (i.e., money from the full $5 million mitigation fund will be held back for a future round of funding once the tree removal impacts are better known.) 

As a result, there will be two phases of funding. Phase 1 will distribute funding based on ongoing impacts from the full 7-year Gross Dam Expansion Project. Phase 2 will distribute funding based on impacts from the 2-year tree removal operations, specifically.