The Utility Finance Oversight Committee (UFOC) received updates on Public Works’ budget and projects on Tuesday.
The department is on track to redo stormwater rates, and review water and sewer rates, next year.
Darren Schulz, Public Works director, said a request for proposal will go out in October to select a firm by year end to deliver a rate study by the summer of 2019.
Last year, the UFOC recommended a stormwater rate hike to the Board of Supervisors, which instead decided to conduct a study to possibly overhaul the rate structure.
The department is also looking at what Schulz calls a refresh of water and sewer rates. Those rates came to the end of a five-year phase in plan starting in 2013 that increased rates so it’s time to review them.
“It is not my goal to raise rates,” he said.
The committee also discussed water and sewer connection fees which are charged to connect to the system. Those fees, which were dropped during the recession to incentive construction, are in the midst of a five-year hike that ends in 2020.
Carson City fees are considerably lower than those in surrounding areas. The current water connection fee, for example, is $2,246 in Carson City while it’s $4,219 in Douglas County and $4,303 in Lyon County.
The department may reevaluate connection fees as well later, but Schulz said the fees will continue to rise at least as much as the consumer price index even if no further action is taken.
Carson City does not require new connections to come with water rights nor does it calculate the cost of rights owned by the city into the fee.
In terms of projects, the department is designing the east west transmission line that will extend the water line from Phillips Street to Quill Water Treatment. The project should be put out to bid and completed next year.
After Labor Day, a sewer project along Center Drive to Snyder Avenue will start and should be done by year end, said Schulz.
The wastewater, water and storm water funds tentative budget remains the same except for additional salaries and benefits due to a reorganization of the Public Works department approved later by the supervisors.
Those changes, which reestablished the position of deputy director and split the position of utility director into separate jobs overseeing water and wastewater, added $9,400 to the budget for the stormwater fund, roughly $63,500 to the sewer fund, and $123,600 to the water fund.
Schulz introduced the new water manager, Eddy Quaglieri, who joined the department a month ago from the Nevada Division of Water Resources, and said Rick Ferriera, from Placerville, California, will be starting as wastewater manager after Labor Day.