Water rates go down for East Valley | RecordCourier.com

Water rates go down for East Valley

by Christy Chalmers

East Valley water rates are falling farther than expected.

Douglas County Utilities Manager Carl Ruschmeyer had predicted decreases of 9 percent for residents, 5 percent for businesses and 33 percent for irrigation customers of the East Valley Water System. But a final accounting resulted in slightly higher decreases.

The county commission approved the new rates Thursday, and they will take effect June 1 and remain in place until 2002.

“The rates are much more reflective of the cost of service to various customer classes,” said County Manager Dan Holler.

“It looks very bright for the future,” said Ruschmeyer.

Currently, most of the 787 residents on the system pay a basic rate of $15.55 per month, plus 90 cents for every thousand gallons up to 10,000. The fixed rate will drop to $13.12 and every thousand gallons to 10,000 will cost 82 cents under the new rates.

For a house using 10,000 gallons of water per month month, the bill would drop from $25.71 to $22.38.

The system also serves 64 businesses and 33 irrigation customers. Bills for a business using up to 10,000 gallons a month would drop from $48.67 to $46.55. An irrigator using up to 25,000 gallons a month would pay $48.72, down from $86.60.

The decreases are due to higher-than-expected growth in the area. Ruschmeyer said the rates are based on an expected 3 percent annual growth rate.

The decrease also signifies good news for the system’s long-term health. County administrators have been trying to make the system self-sufficient since they acquired it. Holler said subsidies from the general fund are being phased out, and more attention will be focused on savings to cover depreciation and capital costs.