Lower-income seniors could qualify for lower water bills
Appeal Staff Writer
Carson City’s elected officials are considering a plan to offset the cost of rising water rates for some lower-income residents.
Seniors with incomes below $26,715 could pay discounted water rates if the supervisors approve a plan being introduced today.
“We already have a discount for sewer rates, so we’d only be adding water,” said City Manager Linda Ritter.
Depending on income, the applicant could receive a cost break of up to 90 percent.
“We can’t raise their income, but we can assist seniors this way,” said Supervisor Pete Livermore, who said “several” seniors living on fixed incomes have contacted him to express concerns about the rate hikes.
The supervisors approved the increases in January. One 14 percent rate increase started in February. The other will begin in July and also be 14 percent.
Cost to the city to provide qualifying water users with the discount is estimated to be $20,000 annually, Ritter said.
A senior is described as someone at least 62 years old, according to the city’s municipal code as it applies to sewer cost rebates. This would remain the same if the supervisors ultimately approve the discounted fees.
It takes supervisors votes during two sessions to change the city code: An introductory vote and a final vote.
Water is an enterprise service provided by the city, which means it’s operated like a business. Customer payments finance the service, Ritter said.
• Contact reporter Terri Harber at tharber @nevadaappeal.com or 882-2111, ext. 215.
In other business
• Are expected to approve a $20 million water infrastructure-improvement bond. The bond would be paid off over 30 years using future payments by water customers. It would finance such needs as arsenic removal from the water, new lines and wells, and water tank reconstruction and replacement to be done during the next few years.
• Could recommend how to fund various private groups and public needs using federal Community Development Block Grants. This grant budget was about $457,400 last year. This year’s amount still has to be determined, but 65 percent is for public facilities and improvements, 15 percent for public service activities and the rest, 20 percent, for administrative work.
• Will hear details about why plans for a fishing pond at the Carson City Fairgrounds have been stalled – contractor bids are much higher than previous project estimates.
If you go
WHAT: Board of Supervisors meeting
WHEN: 8:30 a.m. today
WHERE: Sierra Room, Community Center, 851 E. William St.
How the water rate discount would work
Income Percentage of discount