Town councilors are allowing the Jackson Hole Classical Academy to connect its new campus to the municipal water and sewer system, at least for now.
The Jackson Town Council voted 3-1 on Monday to ask staff to draft an agreement for a temporary connection for the school as it builds an interim modular campus in South Park to open to students in the fall. Mayor Pete Muldoon and Councilors Hailey Morton Levinson and Arne Jorgensen voted in favor, with Councilor Jim Stanford opposed and Councilor Jonathan Schechter absent.
“I don’t think it makes a whole lot of sense for us to put in a septic system when it’s so close to our sewer line,” Jorgensen said.
Officials were reluctant to grant the sewer connection given the town’s plan to conduct a study of the wastewater system’s capacity and rate structure later this year. The town hasn’t analyzed its wastewater capacities since the early 2000s and last adjusted rates in 2013.
Town Engineer Brian Lenz recommended against approving the sewer connection, “pending comprehensive capacity and rate studies for the water and sewer systems.”
“Given the passage of time, changes in development regulations and densities, and granted and expected additional connection requests outside of the town limits, review and update of capacity and rates are required,” Lenz wrote.
Ultimately, councilors compromised by allowing a temporary connection to the sewer with the stipulation that rates may be adjusted following completion of the town’s capacity and rate study, and that if the academy’s wastewater needs to expand when the modular campus is replaced by a permanent one, the school will come back before the town to request extra capacity.
“I don’t feel good about putting in a septic system when we know all the environmental issues of that, when this is so close to our water and sewer line,” Morton Levinson said.
“Having the ability to responsibly react to a rate structure is where I see that temporary part,” she added.