Carson City panel recommends stormwater rate increase

The Utility Finance Oversight Committee finalized its recommendation for a stormwater rate increase.

The committee met Monday and voted to recommend to the Board of Supervisors a new rate structure that would increase monthly rates for all single-family residences from $5.69 to $9.43, a 64 percent bump.

The proposed rates would be phased in over two years. The charge would jump to $7.52 starting Jan. 1, 2021, then increase to $9.34 on Jan. 1, 2022.

The new structure would create four commercial classes, from small to very large, with monthly charges of $30, $60, $120, and $240. Currently, charges for non-residential users range from $29.33 for multifamily properties to $38.19 for manufacturers and $40.96 for other commercial users.

Those rates would be phased in as well. The smallest class would pay the new rate starting next year because it is essentially the same as the current rate while the very large class would see its rate increase to $60, $120, $180 and $240 over four years. The rates would phase in over two years for the medium class of customers and three years for the large class.

“Stormwater has been underfunded for a long time,” said Brent Farr, president, Farr West Engineering, the consultant that conducted the rate study for Carson City.

The increases will raise $3.2 million needed for stormwater drainage projects.

The recommendation also includes $10,000 for a utility assistance program for low-income ratepayers and a new credit for commercial properties with detention basins that help mitigate stormwater effects. The property owners would have to apply for the credit and provide proof they have maintained the basin and then would receive a month’s rate credit.

The recommendation now heads to the supervisors for a vote.

The committee also heard an update on water rates. The Board of Supervisors directed staff to redo a proposed rate increase for water that would let the city sooner start a project to rehab Quill Water Treatment Plant so the plant can treat water from Hobart Reservoir and Marlette Lake to drinking water standards.

The initial projection was to raise rates 4.5 percent in order to do that but the board told staff to cut other projects to keep the rate increase as close to 3 percent as possible.

Staff decided push out water line replacements to future years, which enabled them to keep a water rate increase to 3 percent.

The new water rate and waste water rate increase of 3.5 percent was approved by the board in March and will likely take effect Oct. 1 or later instead of July 1 because the city has not been able to issue the required business impact statement due to the coronavirus shutdown.


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