Carson City Board of Supervisors looking at raising new user connection fees

Water and sewer connection fees for new development in Carson City could go up soon.

Two ordinances phasing in new fees during the next five years were first read at the Board of Supervisors meeting Thursday. The ordinances have to be read a second time before the board can vote to approve them.

“A connection charge is a buy into existing system,” said David Bruketta, utility manager, who presented the business impact and ordinance agenda items on the connection fees.

The one-time fees, calculated when building permits were applied for and paid when those permits were pulled, were designed to have new users pay their share of the infrastructure already in place to serve them.

The city dropped the fees significantly in October 2009 to encourage development during the recession.

The sewer fee, for example, was cut then from $5,777 to $577 and has not been increased since. The water connection fee was dropped from $4,543 to $454 where it stands today.

The new sewer connection fees for a single-family residence, if approved, would be increased on July 1 of each year, to $1,360 in 2016, $2,143 in 2017, $2,926 in 2018, $3,710 in 2019, and $4,493 in 2020.

The fees are for single equivalent residential customer, or SERC, which is being redefined to 200 gallons per day.

Single family homes are one SERC and other residences, such as apartments, duplexes, and mobile homes, are less than one and would pay their designated fraction of the fee.

The new water connection fees are based on meter size.

Customers using meters 1.5-inches or larger will be charged based on an estimated maximum day water use in gallons per minute.

For those new customers, the fees will increase to $1,244 in 2016, $2,488 in 2017, $3,731 in 2018, $4,975 in 2019, and $6,219 in 2020.

After 2020, both sewer and water connection fees will rise based on Engineering News Record’s Construction Cost Index, with a cap of 3 percent a year.

The business impact statements on both sewer and water fees as well as the first reading of the two ordinances passed the board unanimously.

But Supervisor Jim Shirk, seconding the motion on the water connection fee business impact statement, said the fees didn’t go far enough.

“I second,” said Shirk, “but I think the rates are significantly lower than they should be.”

Chris Carver, a candidate for Carson City mayor, echoed that during public comment.

“My concern is that growth does pay for growth,” said Carver. “We’re not even close to rates of 2009.”

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