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GRGID approves water and sewer rate study

by Merrie Leininger

The Ranchos General Improvement District board of trustees met Wednesday night and with only three out of five members present approved a water and sewer rate study.

Board President Bruce Nystrom and board member Al Wagner were absent because of health reasons.

District engineer Paul Lumos said the project will probably cost the district between $4,500-$6,000 for him to look at the water availability, the rates charged residents for water and sewer and what the district will have to do to continue to provide those services in the future.

“We haven’t had a rate study for 10 years,” said District Manager Bob Spellberg. “We need to take a look to see what shape we’re in. It’s good for the board to have the data.”

Spellberg said there are two sewer rates. If a Ranchos resident built their house before May 1990, they pay $10 a month. If it was built after May 1990, they pay $19 a month.

There are two different rates because the district has two different contracts with Minden-Gardnerville Sanitation District. The $10 fee is a flat user fee and the $19 fee is based on a percentage of the sewer plant’s monthly costs. Because the Ranchos makes up about a third of the gallons of sewage the plant receives, they pay about a third of its costs.

Spellberg said it is time to take a look at the rate charged because the district has been working in the red this year.

“Paul (Lumos) will do a rate study and project expenses out for 10 years and decide if rates need to be raised or not, so we don’t fall backwards and have to raise them all at once,” he said.

Lumos will also look at the water supply and look around for where the next well might be dug.

“It is a good practice to take a look, and now with all the heavy growth over, we need to take a look at where going,” Spellberg said.

The monthly water bill now is $12.

Lumos said the study should take about two months to complete.

n Credit cards. The board unanimously rejected the idea of letting residents pay their utility bills with credit cards after getting cost estimates from credit card companies on the equipment they would have to rent or buy.

Acting GRGID president Beverly Page said it would also be a lot more trouble to the office staff.

n Fax machines. The board rejected a suggestion by Spellberg to buy fax machines for each of the board members to keep at home.

Absent board member Al Wagner gave a statement to Spellberg to read at the meeting.

“In the long haul, it saves time and effort – I know, I’ve been using mine for a year,” Wagner’s statement said.

Page voted against it.

“I figure I can come up here to get anything I need. The county commissioners don’t have their own fax machines and I just don’t feel justified spending the money,” she said.