SILVER SPRINGS - People building new homes or businesses here will pay more to hook up to the water system now that the Silver Springs Mutual Water Company Board has approved an increase in capacity fees and meter installation charges.
Capacity fees are based on the size of the meter required for a home. An additional fee covers the cost of actual meter installation.
New capacity fees will range from $3,200 for a 3Ú4-inch hookup, standard in most homes, to $57,700 for a 4-inch hookup. Larger hookups are most often used for restaurants, hotels, large apartment buildings and other commercial enterprises.
The board's actions came this week and the fee changes take effect immediately. The board will re-examine the fees annually to see that they are in accordance with area growth.
"This includes a buildup of funds for expansion that may be necessary," said George Peek, president of the board.
Brent Farr of Farr West Engineering combined two methods approved by the American Water Works Association to calculate the new fees - the "equity or buy-in" method and the "incremental cost" method. He also considered capacity fees in surrounding communities.
He said the equity method is comparable to 10 people owning a house together for a period of time and earning equity. If someone else wanted to buy in on the house, that person would have to pay for an equal amount of equity.
Incremental cost makes new development assume the cost of system expansion needed to provide for an expected increase in population. System expansion could require capital improvements such as a new tank, booster station, well and well house.
"Current customers have been paying and paying, and now new customers have to buy in," he said. "This is an attempt to distribute the cost of new facilities to those who will be using the new facilities."
The cost for a 3Ú4-inch hookup doubled from the previous fees of $1,450 or $1,650, depending on the location. But Farr said this was the first time a study had been done, and other areas' fees were comparable.
Dayton's fees, set in 2001, range from $2,021 for a 3Ú4-inch hookup to $50,536 for a 4-inch hookup.
In Mound House, a 3Ú4-inch hookup costs $2,537 and a 4-inch hookup costs $63,281.
Yerington's fees ranged from $3,900 for a 3Ú4-inch hookup to $30,000 for a 4-inch hookup.
Peek said the monthly charges were not included in the new fee structure, but would be looked at later.
-- Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at firstname.lastname@example.org or 882-2111 ext. 351.
Silver Springs water fees
Capacity fees for new customers. Fees do not include meter installation.
• 3Ú4 inch meter: $3,200
• 1-inch meter: $5,300
• 1.5-in. meter: $10,500
• 2-in. meter: $16,800
• 3-in. meter: $33,600
• 4-in. meter: $57,700
For more information, call 577-2223.