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April 30, 2014
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Water, sewer hikes in works

Douglas County commissioners will be discussing a 3.25 percent increase in sewer and water rates on Thursday for the county’s utilities annually from 2015-2019.

Rates for three of the county’s four water systems went up 10 percent last year for an average of $63.25 and $87.30 for Jobs Peak residents.

County Public Works Director Carl Ruschmeyer said the county water rates are designed to recover all direct expenses and to eliminate any subsidies from the county’s general fund.

The current water rates expire on June 30.

Douglas County’s rate increases do not affect customers in the Gardnerville Ranchos, the towns of Gardnerville and Minden, or Indian Hills.

In his report to commissioners, Ruschmeyer said that water consumption has increased 13 percent since the last rate study, which means the water systems will receive $375,000 more revenue.

However, water purchased from Minden has gone up 24 percent, costing the county $54,000 more.

At their March 6 meeting, county commissioners opted for the 3.25 percent rate increase.

That rate increase would cost the average water user outside of Jobs Peak Ranch $65.31 a month starting July 1, and go up each year until it reached $74.22 a month on July 1, 2018.

A 2012 rate study projected that water rates would increase 14.15 percent on July 1.

The county is also planning to increase sewer rates by 3.25 percent over the same period of time.

Rate payers would see their bill of $61.43 go up to $63.43 on July 1 and continue to increase until it reaches $72.08 on July 1, 2018.

The county’s sewer system has also undergone some changes since the last rate study, including a 9.2 percent increase in revenues, an increase in contracted services with Carson City.

Ruschmeyer said that while no one knows the timing of the expansion of the North Valley Waste Water Treatment Plant, he anticipates it will happen in the next five years.

Also before the board of commissioners on Thursday is a preliminary engineering report on the status of the Sierra Country Estates’ water system.

The county plans to issued up to $1.5 million in bonds to bring the failed water system into compliance with state law.

County officials are also proposing to refinance sewer bonds to take advantage of a lower rate. The refinance would save $134,874.

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The Record Courier Updated Apr 30, 2014 08:20AM Published Apr 30, 2014 08:20AM Copyright 2014 The Record Courier. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.