Rate hikes proposed for water, sewer | NevadaAppeal.com
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Rate hikes proposed for water, sewer

Karen Woodmansee
Appeal Staff Writer
Lyon County Utilities Director Mike Workman enters a shed containing the Rose Peak No. 2 well head in February. This well dates back to the 1970s and produces 90 gallons of water per minute. It is on a list of wells to be replaced, which will be paid for out of operating funds, paid by ratepayers rather than connection fees. photos by Chad Lundquist/ Nevada Appeal
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Increasing staff, replacing outdated systems, and building new infrastructure to keep pace with growth may mean higher water and sewer rates in Dayton and Mound House.

Lyon County’s population is increasing dramatically – 9.4 percent in 2005. The utilities department has had to work hard to keep up, said Mike Workman, the county’s utilities director.

“We’ve grown from a small system to a medium system and have had to change accordingly,” he said. “Because water and sewer are enterprise funds, which means they’re funded solely by the users, there’s no other tax revenues that covers anything.”

Jerry Liggett, of Dayton, is adamantly opposed to an increase.

“I absolutely think that sucks,” he said. “Number one, I don’t use the full quantity at all now. And in the summer, the rates are so outrageous, I can’t water my lawn as it is.”

He said there were ways the department could save money rather than increase rates.

“There’s so many things that they do that are so expensive,” he said. “If they’d watch what they did with the money, they wouldn’t have a problem. I would think they had an ample amount from the old prices.”

Overall, the combined increase in water and sewer rates could reach as high as 40 percent, said Josh Foli, Lyon County comptroller.

Most of the proposed increase though is in the sewer rate – from about $30 a family per month to $40. The base rate for water could rise from $11 to $15. Increases are higher for those on the Mound House system.

While connection fees charged to builders provides funding for capital improvements, those funds cannot be used to pay operating costs, Workman said.

The proposals will be presented at public hearings scheduled for April 26 at the Dayton Utilities Building and the May 18 commission meeting in Yerington. If approved by the commission, the new rates will take effect July 1.

“Users cover the cost of operations,” he said. “As everybody knows, we’ve had huge increases on our energy-related costs like gas, oil and grease used in maintenance and operations of our systems.”

The cost of chemicals has increased, affecting the cost of metal and plastic pipes and fittings.

“They’ve all increased significantly,” he said. “And over the last four or five years, we have had a significant number of changes and modifications in our permits, increased regulation and water-quality monitoring and testing on both the water and wastewater sides.”

Workman said Mound House residents pay higher water rates because that area uses an antiquated private system that, after falling into receivership, had to use a federally mandated base rate. He said the private system was taken over by the county about eight years ago.

“I was hoping this year to make it one rate, but it didn’t work out, because there are still significant improvements that need to be made over there,” he said.

Comptroller Foli said the proposed rates could mean additional income of $520,000 for Dayton water services, $100,000 for Mound House water services and $580,000 more for Dayton and Mound House sewer services.

“It’s been, on the water side, five or six years since we raised our rates last,” Foli said, adding that there have been smaller increases on the sewer side.

Workman said that in order for the utilities department to continue upgrades in the utilities master plan, more funding is needed.

“These rates pay for maintenance of existing infrastructure, and in some cases, many pieces of it is very old and reaching the end of its useful life,” he said. “They cost more to operate, they become less dependable, and whenever we have failures in the water systems, significant decreases in pressure can result in boil-water orders. We need to be able to provide adequate fire protection and our meet our peak demand flows in the summertime.”

A copy of the proposed rate hike can by reviewed at the Lyon County Utilities Office in Dayton or the Lyon County Commissioners Office in Yerington from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.

• Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at kwoodmansee@nevadaappeal.com or 882-2111 ext. 351.

If You Go

WHAT: Utility rate hike public hearings

WHEN: 6 p.m. April 25

WHERE: 34 Lakes Blvd., Dayton

CALL: 246-6220

Or

WHEN: 9 a.m. May 18

WHERE: 27 S. Main St., Yerington

CALL: 463-6531

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 and 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.