25 Aug 2020 Water Bill Increase
Water Bill Increase
Recent water line breaks and analysis of those breaks has led the city to accelerate planned repairs on our water distribution system. In order to fund the replacement of pipes that were installed over 40 years ago the city approached the Utah State Division of Drinking Water for an emergency loan which was granted.
What were the terms of the loan?
This is a 0% interest loan for approximately $2.9 million. As part of the loan the city was given $300,000 in grant funds (loan forgiveness). The city also had money in the water fund which was added to the project.
The grant/loan forgiveness portion requires the city meet certain criteria.
What are the criteria?
The Division of Drinking Water requires that average household income be used in calculating water rates. Our average water bill must be at least 1.75% of the modified adjusted gross income (which is approximately $72,000 as of 2018 according to the Utah Department of Environmental Quality Drinking Water ). Our current average water bill is $94.65, and this must increase to $105.25.
What does this mean for me?
Our current water bill is divided into two components: A Water System Maintenance Fee and a Usage Fee. The Water System Maintenance Fee is a flat fee that is charged to everyone who has a meter hooked to the water system and the Usage Fee is calculated on how much water is used during a billing cycle. The Council is also evaluating a change in the formula used when calculating the Usage Fee which is intended to increase usage rates evenly (by percentage) across all usage tiers.
Each household will experience a change in their water bill. In addition, the city has approved a “standby” connection fee for all unimproved lots that will begin to be collected. The “standby” connection fee is intended to cover the cost to supply water infrastructure to unimproved lots.
Will this solve all our problems?
This loan covers what we are calling Phase 1 of water pipeline replacement. Phase 1 as determined by an engineering firm will replace most of the pipe in the lower section of Woodland Hills (the older section). We are also working to determine how best to replace the remaining aging pipe. This plan should be in place early next year and available for public review at that time.
Is this problem unique to Woodland Hills?
No. Water infrastructure is aging all over Utah, and the state has determined that between now and 2060 replacement of that infrastructure could cost about $18 billion statewide.