Analysis underway to project, prepare for future growth in Ephraim City
By James Tilson
EPHRAIM—Engineers reported to the Ephraim City Council last week concerning future capital improvements and the impact-fee structure.
Ephraim has hired Sunrise Engineering to conduct a review of Ephraim’s future needs for capital infrastructure improvements, based on future growth.
Based on that analysis, the engineers will calculate how much the city’s impact fees may have to change in order to balance the need to have developers pay for future growth, versus having current residents pay for infrastructure improvements to encourage growth and grow the city’s tax base.
Robert Worley and Jesse Ralphs were on hand to present Sunrise’s preliminary findings on the need for capital improvements for wastewater and public safety. They explained the city’s needs for capital improvement would have to be analyzed before they could properly consider an analysis of impact fees. After this presentation, Sunrise would come back in two weeks to discuss capital improvements to streets, parks and water.
To analyze the need for future wastewater capital improvement, Sunrise needed to estimate future growth of Ephraim’s population. To fi nd that, Sunrise looked back to 2000, and looked at the growth of Ephraim’s population since then to calculate the average growth rate.
Sunrise had to calculate both Ephraim’s and Snow College’s growth rates, since they are growing at much different rates (2.86 percent versus 5.71 percent). At an estimated growth rate of 4.3 percent, Ephraim’s current population of 7,482 could be expected to grow to 11,399 in 2028, and 17,366 in 2038.
Then Sunrise had to look at the city’s wastewater collection system (i.e. sewer pipes), and see where any potential issues might be. Two major issues stood out to Sunrise: the existence of obsolete clay pipes in the city interior, and the possibility of annexations in the next 20 years.
Of the two, the replacement of clay pipes would cost far less than the need to expand the wastewater system over the next 20 years. However, only the replacement of clay pipes would not be eligible for impact fee, as those were maintenance costs and not new infrastructure. Therefore, over the next twenty years, the city could expect to spend $2,815,000 on the city’s wastewater system, of which only $294,000 would not be eligible for impact fees.
Sunrise next discussed future public safety (i.e. police and fire emergency services) facility improvements that would be required over the next twenty years. Sunrise estimated the level of service provided by these departments by comparing the square footage of building space to population. Based on these numbers,
Sunrise concluded the level of service by the public safety departments are “really good right now, will be pretty good in 10 years, and in 20 years will be needing expansion.”
To maintain the same level of services, Sunrise estimated the police and fi re departments would need to expand their current buildings at a total cost of $1,648,334.
However, all of the improvements to public safety departments would be eligible for impact fees, and would likely have a lesser impact on current residents.