The Arch Hurley Conservancy District is seeking $53,370 in late assessment payments from district members.
The delinquent assessments are for four or more years. And one payment is 17 years in the arrears, said Arch Hurley Manager Franklin McCasland.
The delinquent amount does represent a 1 percent interest fee, as allowed by state statute.
The late payments represent 49 accounts with Arch Hurley and 623 acres that are not active, said Larry Perkins, board president, at the board's monthly meeting on Tuesday.
To recoup its late payments, the Arch Hurley's board approved certified letters to be written by a local attorney that state how much is owed, that Arch Hurley will begin the process to put a lien on their property if the amount owed is not paid within 60 days. The letter will also include a form that a delinquent payer can sign that relinquishes their water rights to Arch Hurley.
However, persons who are delinquent can:
• Pay back assessments and retain their water rights.
• Pay back assessments and lease the water rights with the approval of Arch Hurley and federal Bureau of Reclamation.
• Pay back assessments and sell the water rights with the approval of Arch Hurley and federal Bureau of Reclamation. This is a lengthy process because the Arch Hurley board and the BOR must approve the sale, McCasland said.
Water rights returned to Arch Hurley are expected to be sold at an auction, Perkins said.
The average cost per acre of water rights is about $550 based on the last auction, Perkins said.
Vice president of the board, Tom Bruhn, at first, suggested that any monies collected by water rights holders who could use water from the project be returned to the water rights holder, after late fees are collected. However, he changed his mind and voted to send the approved letter.
Board member John Gilberston voted against the letter because he was not in favor of the form asking landholders to relinquish their water rights.
The largest chunk of funds owed are in the district's B unit, where 34 holders of water rights owe $35,525.
The B unit is an area surrounding the city of Tucumcari and Tucumcari Lake.
Some of the holders of unpaid assessments live in areas where they can't use the water rights because their land has been separated from laterals or canals by development, some board members said.