I live off Dublin and Academy. I drive all the way to Manitou Springs for outings including lunch or dinner, toys for my son, gifts, and so many great community events I can't name them all. My 2 year old loves the boardwalk. I did notice in the middle of a recession they actually were able to redo and renovate their parks and main street. My money is going to a local economy not some stock holder of a big box company based in a completely different state. The people here are friendly and real. I don't mind the store hours since family is first here. I trully believe Manitou Springs is a civic embodyment of "do unto others as you would have done unto you". They have reaped what they have sewn.
I live in the springs since 1988. First, if you live in Falcon - shut up and drink a coke in your quarter million and up homes. You choose to live in a giant home and MVEC utilities go with the size.
Second - My apartments and first home were 2 bedrooms. My utilities rarely ever went above 100 except the winter months were about 120. I am a big supporter of budget billing from many companies. Ever since 1994 When I got my first home I have always checked what budget billing would run. I am amazed that every time Ive checked into the numbers I have been told it would be 250 a month after about 6 months. Even with my extensive usage history with CSU. All places Iv'ed lived except my current home have been about the same size. There is something definitely fishy with CSU's calculations. Now I have a 3 story and my bills are still right around 115.
I use the water efficiency kits CSU passed out about a decade ago, energy saving blubs, and other simple efficiency steps. Nothing drastic. My home temperature is at 68 and set digitally. I strongly recommend everyone request meter inspections whenever you see a spike in your billing. I have had meters go bad in the past which weren't caught by the monthly meter readers.
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