Municipal utilities going up, some a lot, some a little
Residents in five Sanpete County cities are going to see raises—some by a little, others by more significant amounts—in various utility rates.
After discussions during respective city council meetings, officials in Centerfield, Moroni, Fountain Green, Mt. Pleasant and Ephraim cities have voted to raise water, sewer and/or irrigation rates for the 2018 fiscal year. Those rates are set to take effect on July 1.
While Fountain Green sewer and water rates are increasing by up to 75 cents, base rates in Mt. Pleasant, Centerfield, Moroni and Ephraim will increase by up to $7.
Water overage-rates for all cities are remaining the same, though Centerfield is changing the water allotment under its base rate from 5,000 gallons to 6,000 gallons, and then simultaneously changing that rate from $20 to $25.
In Moroni City, irrigation rates are increasing from $17 to a new rate of $20.
Centerfield’s sewer rates will remain unchanged at $25 from the 2017 fiscal year. However, the city’s base water rates will increase from $20 to a new rate of $25.
The current residential water base rate of $20 will cover up to 5,000 gallons of water consumption. Centerfield’s new base rate of $25 for the 2018 fiscal year will cover up to 6,000 gallons of water consumption.
For every 1,000 gallons after the covered amount of 6,000 gallons of water consumption, there is an overage rate of $1.40. This rate covers every 1,000 gallons up to 15,000 gallons of water use. The initial overage cost of $1.40 increases by an additional 5 cents after 15,001 gallons of use and again after 20,001 gallons of use.
For the 2018 fiscal year, Moroni City residents face a sewer rate increase of $2, making the new base rate $13. Water rates will remain at $14 for the base rate.
The city council has also voted to increase police fees by $10 in order to fund a full-time police chief and a Terminal Agency Coordinator position. Rates will increase $8 to pay for the chief’s position and $2 for the TAC person.
Irrigation rates in the city will increase from $17 to a new rate of $20. City finance consultant Gary Keddington said Moroni City has been forced to increase irrigation rates to match prices from external companies, where the city has been purchasing water. Keddington added that the cost per share of water bought from these companies has been steadily increasing over the past couple of years.
The current $11 sewer base rate in Moroni will cover up to 1,000 gallons of water consumption per month. The same amount will be covered under the city’s $14 base rate for water.
Keddington said that the city has been forced to increase irrigation rates to match prices from external companies the city has been purchasing water from. Keddington added that the cost per share of water bought from these companies has been steadily increasing over the past couple of years.
The current $11 sewer base rate in Moroni will cover up to 1,000 gallons of water consumption per month. The same amount is covered under the city’s new $13 base rate for sewer and unchanged $14 base rate for water. In the city’s tiered system, residents are charged additional sewer rates of $4.50 for each 1,000 gallons consumed between 1,001 and 8,000 gallons of water. Each tier, from 8,001 to 12,000, 12,001 to 17,000, and 17,001 to 22,000 and so on would increase by another 0.50 cents.
Sewer rates in Fountain Green are set to increase from the 2017 fiscal year budget of $29 to the 2018 budget of $29.25 per month. Water rates will also increase by 75 cents, from $37.50 to a new rate of $38.25 per month.
Fountain Green’s new water base rate of $38.25 will cover up to 6,000 gallons of water consumption. Overage rates of $1.50 are introduced every 1,000 gallons of water use after 6,000 gallons and up to 20,000 gallons of water. Every 1,000 gallons after 20,001 gallons of water will be charged overage rates of $1.75 up to 40,000 gallons. After 40,001 gallons of water consumption, $2 will be charged every 1,000 gallons of use.
Mount Pleasant sewer rates are set to increase by $7 for the 2018 fiscal year, from $10.50 to a new rate of $17.50. The city water rates will remain unchanged at $22.
A $22 base rate for water will cover up to 3,000 gallons of water consumption. The city has three tiers where, after the amount covered by the base rate; an additional $1 per 1,000 gallons will be charged up to 20,000 gallons, $1.25 per 1,000 gallons up to 50,000 gallons and $1.50 per 1,000 gallons past 50,001 gallons.
While Ephraim’s water rates will remain unchanged at a minimum of $16.85, sewer rates for the 2018 fiscal year will increase from $27 to a new $30 rate per month.
According to Ephraim City Manager Brant Hanson, the increased sewer rates are still $3.65 below state average.
Essentially, Hanson said that the budget is operating in the red.
“We’ve kept our rates relatively low,” Hanson said. “As much as we possibly can.”
For some at the city council meeting on Tuesday, June 14, rates are still too high—and Ephraim resident Ed Schoppe spoke at the meeting to protest the initial increase to $33.50.
“Calculating my fixed income, I am spending nearly 55 percent on taxes, Schoppe said. “People don’t understand what you’re doing. We just don’t get it.”
In addition to raising the rates to $30 instead of the initial $33.50, Hanson said that city officials have responded to this request for communication. Starting next year, city officials will have open houses to have what he calls “open conversations with residents.”
For water rates in Ephraim, a $16.85 minimum rate will cover up to 7,000 gallons of water consumption within city limits. After that, there are overage costs of $1.29 per 1,000 gallons used for the next 20,000 gallons, increasing by one cent each tier after.