6/24/2013 8:26:00 AM Water/sewer rates to stay the same - for now
Ken Hedler Special to the Tribune
Despite seeing the town's contract costs increasing nearly 7 percent for water, sewer and related infrastructure in the upcoming fiscal year, town staff is not recommending any increase in water and sewer rates at this time.
Town Manager Larry Tarkowski told the Town Council Thursday that he has fielded a number of calls from residents worried that the town would pass on higher costs for the contract with CH2M Hill OMI to water and sewer customers. The contract for OMI for 2013-14, which starts July 1, is for about $3.3 million, and includes water and sewer services, and operating the new aquifer recharge facility.
He said outsourcing the services to the private sector keeps costs down, and praised the management of the Utilities Department, which oversees OMI's contract.
Water and sewer rates come up for an annual study that the Management Services Department conducts this time of the year.
The study projects personnel services will increase 2 percent and other operating expenses will climb 3 percent in 2013-14.
However, the study states, "This report does not contain any recommendations with respect to Rates, Fees and Charges schedule."
The report leaves open the possibility of rate revisions coming up for consideration when the council meets July 25.
The council voted this past September to increase the block, or tier, structure for sewage generation from $4.48 to $4.54 for every block of 1,000 gallons up to 8,000 gallons. The monthly sewer charge remains at $5.07 for customers with 5/8- and 3/4-inch pipes.
The current rates are $9 per month for water costumers with 5/8- and 3/4-inch pipes and $3.02 for the first block of 1,000 gallons.
The block structure encourages conservation, Management Services Director Bill Kauppi said.
Kauppi said the town adds about 80 new customers a year. The town had 18,644 water accounts and 15,515 sewer accounts as of April, according to the study.
Councilwoman Mary Mallory said she is thankful that rates will not increase.
The council members took no action during the work/study meeting. Councilman Rick Anderson was absent.
PVEDF has a contractual relationship with the town going back to 1996. The proposed contract calls for paying the foundation $150,000 during 2013-14, the same amount as the current fiscal year.
PVEDF has attracted rural development grant money with the goal of recruiting businesses and creating jobs, Marks told the council.
Under the proposed contract, the foundation has the goal of attracting 525 new jobs over the next three years, according to a report to the council from Economic Development Manager Greg Fister.
Council members also heard reports from Prevent Child Abuse Arizona, the CASA Senior Center and the Yavapai County Humane Society.
Prevent Child Abuse leases 7 acres from the town for a campus-like setting that also includes the Arizona Department of Economic Security and the Yavapai Family Advocacy Center.
Like Prevent Child Abuse, CASA leases a town-owned building. It has about 900 members, including more than 70 seniors who are older than 90, Executive Director Betty Robinson said.
The town has contracted for years with the Yavapai Humane Society. The shelter has expanded one of the nation's lowest kill rates for Prescott Valley for throughout the quad-city area, Executive Director Ed Boks said.