Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Hailey OKs new water, sewer formula

Fee schedule to be set next month


By TONY EVANS
Express Staff Writer

    The Hailey City Council passed a new ordinance last week that will establish a new formula for setting water and wastewater fees.  
    The new fees will set the base water fee at 25 percent of the Water Department budget, and metered fees at 75 percent of the Water Department budget.
    The proposed ordinance also sets the wastewater fees as 100 percent “variable,” based on the Wastewater Department’s budget and metered winter usage.
    One-third of the previous sewer fee was based on a flat fee of $13.59. Two-thirds of the previous sewer fee was variable, based on winter consumption.
    Winter consumption is almost constant, since it is equal to domestic water consumption, minus summer irrigation usage.
    The new sewer fee will include $7.78 per 1,000 gallons used in winter.
    “The city wishes to promote conservation of both outdoor and indoor water usage, but at the same time implement a fee schedule which generates sufficient revenue to cover the necessary and normal expenses of the Hailey water and wastewater systems,” the new ordinance language states.
    Previously, one-third of the Water Department budget was funded by fixed fees, while about two-thirds of the budget was funded by metered rates.
    Public Works Director Tom Hellen said after the proposed ordinance was presented on Oct. 7 that the new formula would remove his discretion from setting the fees each year, based on projected costs within the water and wastewater departments.
    “This decision meets several goals and I am very impressed with it,” said Councilman Don Keirn.
    The council will set water and wastewater fees for the upcoming year at a public hearing on Nov. 4.
    In other Hailey news:
    - The Hailey City Council took the final step in a four-year process to authorize the establishment of the Hailey Urban Renewal Agency’s Gateway District, a 20-year district that will focus redevelopment on a swath of residential and commercial property in the downtown core.
Tony Evans: tevans@mtexpress.com




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