Friday, January 9, 2009

Central Weber Sewer District Rate Increase

First of all a little background about what happens to your sewer when it leaves your house:

South Ogden City has/owns the infrastructure within our city limits to take sewer from individual homes and businesses to the place where it is treated. The place where it is treated is Central Weber Sewer District in Marriott-Slaterville. Once the sewer is treated it is released back into the natural habitat.

When a resident pays their utility bill a portion of that is for sewer (amongst water, storm drain, and garbage). The sewer portion of your bill is calculated in two ways. The first is a base fee in which no matter how much usage you have that portion of the fee remains the same. The second is based on your water usage. Almost all water usage indoors ends up in the sewer. Therefore the more water you use the more effluent you put into the sewer system. Therefore the more sewage put into the system causes your sewer bill to he higher.

When you pay your sewer bill most of it goes to South Ogden City to pay for sewer personnel, maintenance, depriciation, etc. A portion of your sewer bill is sent to Central Weber Sewer District for the treatment of the sewage. South Ogden City collects the fee, but we in turn send it to Central Weber Sewer.

This all leads us to our current situation. Central Weber Sewer District is increasing their treatment fees by 100%. The purpose behind this is to upgrade and expand their facility. Some of it is growth related and some of it is new regulations sent down from the Federal Government (EPA). The cost of their project is estimated at $140 million.

They are using three revenue streams to pay for the bonding on the $140 million. 1) Increased property taxes within their authority 2) Impact fees and 3) Treatment fees. The treatment fees are billed through the cities that use Central Weber Sewer. Therefore if they raise our rates we, in turn, have to raise our city rates to pay the treatment fees.

This coming council meeting on Tuesday, January 20th at 6:00 p.m. we will be having a public hearing to raise our sewer rates to meet the needs of the increase in treatment fees. While the city is still debating on the formula (base vs. usage or a combination of both) the impact could be from $5-$13 per month for most residential users. The whole increase will be sent to Central Weber Sewer to pay for the additional treatment fees. Central Weber Sewer District will have representatives on hand to answer any questions the public may have.

While South Ogden City would rather not raise our sewer rates we are forced to do this in order to make sure proper sewer service stays intact. We would welcome public comment during our public hearing next council meeting.