Mound House residents upset over proposed Lyon water-rate hikes | NevadaAppeal.com
YOUR AD HERE »

Mound House residents upset over proposed Lyon water-rate hikes

Jarid Shipley
Appeal Staff Writer

Residents of two Lyon County communities were given their first chance to comment on a proposed 40 percent increase to water rates at a public meeting Wednesday night in Dayton.

Despite the planned increases to Dayton’s water and sewer rates, most in the crowd of about 30 people expressed concern over Mound House rate increases.

“We feel for the people and don’t like to raise costs, but it is what it is, and people need to bear the costs for these services,” said Bob Milz, Lyon County commission chairman.

Operating at a loss for several years and anticipating needed improvements and new infrastructure, Lyon County utilities initiated a cost- of-service evaluation to determine the best way to recover costs and put the utility on sound economic footing.

Karyn Johnson, a consultant with FCS Group of Redmond, Wash., presented the recommendations based on the analysis of the county system at the meeting, held at the Dayton Utilities Building.

“We started from a debt position so we had to make up that debt then get to a point to ensure future financial stability,” she said.

Dayton residential customers would see a 40 percent increase for the fixed charge, which is determined by the diameter of pipe to the home. There is a 5,000-gallon allowance included in the fixed charge, and anything over that amount will increase from $1.39 per 1,000 gallons to $1.95 per 1,000 gallons.

The proposal also includes a 14 percent increase for the 2007/08 and 2008/09 fiscal years, followed by a 12 percent increase in the 2009/10 and 2010/11 fiscal years. Dayton residential customers utilize an average of 11,700 gallons per month, according to Johnson.

FCS Group also recommended a change in how Dayton residents are charged for sewer services, including differentiating between single-family and multi-family residential units.

The company recommends a 35 percent increase for the 2006/07 fiscal year, followed by an 8 percent increase in 2008/09 and 2009/10, and a 3 percent increase in 2010/11.

Yet the majority of the concern expressed was from residents of Mound House, who already pay higher rates for their water service and are also looking at a 40 percent increase for the upcoming fiscal year. The volume charge for water over the 5,000 allowance will also increase from $3.54 to $4.96 per 1,000 gallons.

With the proposed increase, the average residential unit in Dayton using 11,700 gallons would pay $28.84 a month. The average residential unit in Mound House using 7,270 gallons would pay $54.98 a month, according to FCS Group.

“I think our rates are way too high as it is,” said Margene Stenger, of Mound House. “My water bill runs me between $200-$300 a month in the summer, and our lawn isn’t that big.”

Fred Williams Jr., a 30-year-resident of Mound House, agreed.

“I think jumping 40 percent like that is too fast,” he said. “There are seniors living up there that are on a fixed income.”

The presented increase does not include a proposed $17 million in capital improvements to the system in Mound House. If those expenditures are added, it could cause an additional increase in rates.

County officials said those expenses were not included because grant funding is being sought to offset them. If other funding is not available, the scope and amount of projects can be reduced to lower costs.

“We are looking at taking a master plan point of view down to reality. We think we can reduce that $17 million significantly,” said Mike Workman, Lyon County utility director.

The proposals will be presented at another public hearing scheduled for the May 18 commission meeting in Yerington. If approved by the commission, the new rates will take effect July 1.

• Contact reporter Jarid Shipley at jshipley@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1217.

Proposed rates

Dayton water

Flat rate for the first $5,000 gallons per month

3Ú4-inch line: $15.81

1-inch line: $21.41

1.5-inch line: $30.73

2-inch line: $41.92

3-inch line: $71.74

4-inch line: $105.29

• Usage rate for each additional 1,000 gallons for all customer classes: $1.95

• On July 1 of subsequent years, the above rates will be increased by the following percentages: 2007 and 2008: 14% each year and 2009 and 2010: 12% each year

Mound House water

3Ú4-inch line: $43.71

1-inch line: $59.09

1.5-inch line: $84.77

2-inch line: $115.56

3-inch line: $197.68

4-inch line: $290.08

• User rate for each additional 1,000 gallons for all customer classes: $4.96

• On July 1 of subsequent years, the above rates will be increased by the following percentages: 2007 through 2010: 3% each year.

Dayton/Mound House sewer

• Single residential: $40.46

• Multi-family residential: $36.80 per unit

• Commercial and Industrial: $16.19 flat plus usage rate at $2.95 per 1,000 gallons over 5,000 per month used.

• On July 1 of subsequent years, the above rates will be increased by the following percentages: 2007 through 2009: 8% each year; 2010: 3%.

Current rates

Dayton water

Flat rate for the first $5,000 gallons per month

3Ú4-inch line: $11.29

1-inch line: $15.29

1.5-inch line: $21.95

2-inch line: $29.94

3-inch line: $51.24

4-inch line: $75.21

• Usage rate for each additional 1,000 gallons for all customer classes: $1.39

Mound House water

3Ú4-inch line: $31.22

1-inch line: $42.21

1.5-inch line: $60.55

2-inch line: $82.54

3-inch line: $141.20

4-inch line: $207.20

• User rate for each additional 1,9000 gallons for all customer classes: $3.54

Dayton/Mound House sewer

• Single residential: $30.50

• Multi-family residential: $30.50 per unit

• Commercial and Industrial:

3Ú4-inch line: $26

1-inch line: $28

1.5-inch line: $34

2-inch line: $48

3-inch line: $71.75

• Commercial/industrial users pay $1.39 per 1,000 gallons over 5,000.