City council approves 6 percent increase in sewer fees charged to GWSSA
by Laura Haley
Contributing Writer
Aug 01, 2013 | 1575 views | 0 0 comments | 65 65 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Two months after the city of Moab approved an increase to sewer rates for city residents, some customers who live outside the city in Grand County could be seeing higher rates show up on their bills as well. Last week, the Moab City Council approved an increase in the monthly amount the city bills to the Grand Water and Sewer Service Agency (GWSSA) for sewage services the city wastwater treatment plant provides to GWSSA customers.

Moab City Manager Donna Metzler said the rate increase was requested in order to raise revenues for future upgrades to the city-owned wastewater treatment plant.

Metzler said that in order for the city to qualify for low- or no-interest loans for those planned upgrades there has to be a large enough local contribution to satisfy the state’s requirements for funding.

“If [the rate] is low, it doesn’t show enough local contribution toward the cost of the project,” she said. “We’re moving toward a new bond here in the next couple of years. It’s important to make sure those rates are providing enough revenue into the system to support not only the system, but the bond.”

The city approved a 5.5 percent increase for city sewer users in June. The increase went into effect for city customers in July.

“We now need to increase the fees charged to [GWSSA] in order to make sure all of our system revenues are consistent,” a document prepared by Moab city staff stated.

“This sewer rate change is for the rates charged to Grand Water and Sewer Service Agency for their monthly fee they pay to the city to treat sewage received from properties within agency boundaries,” Metzler said.

Metzler said the increase for GWSSA was presented to the city council separately because city staff wanted to discuss the rate change with GWSSA before the council voted on it. Metzler confirmed during the July 23 meeting that she had talked with GWSSA Manager Mark Sovine about the change. Because GWSSA contracts directly with the city for sewer services, the monthly charge will increase by 6 percent, Metzler said.

Sovine said the proposed increase is less than 3 percent of the agency’s overall billing to customers.

Sovine said the GWSSA board has not yet discussed the rate increase, but he plans to bring it up at the board’s next meeting on Aug.1.

“Should the board elect to pass the increase on to our customers, we would need to go through the public before any rate changes are made,” he said.

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