Secondary water rates will not increase for Monticello residents this year, but large commercial customers that use large amounts of secondary water will see a significant rate increase.
The secondary water rates were set at the April 8 meeting of the Monticello City Council.
In 2013, the city completed a project to install meters on the secondary water system. Use of the new metering system will begin when the secondary system is charged this week.
At the April 8 meeting, the Council did not increase rates for residential and small commercial customers. City officials plead with city residents to use water carefully, as city water supplies are very low after several years of dry winters. The average use of water per connection is 20,000 gallons per month.
The city needs to generate $11,000 in additional revenue to service the loan for the new system. With no increase for residential customers, large water users will generate the needed additional revenue.
Less than ten connections use large amounts of water, including public buildings, schools, and churches. The rate structure implemented by the council will charge these customers as their water use exceeds 20,000 gallons per month.
The rate is $0.50 per thousand gallons for use between 20,000 and 50,000 gallons. The rate increases to $1 per thousand gallons between 51,000 and 100,000 gallons and $1.50 per thousand gallons for use above 100,000 gallons.
Public works director Nathan Langston estimates that that rate structure will increase the cost of water for the public safety building by nearly 18 percent, from $453.60 under the previous structure to $535.
Estimates for Monticello High School are a 300 percent increase, from $2,268 to $6,823. Monticello Elementary School rates are estimated to increase by 350 percent, from $2,268 to $7,948.
The city asks residents to match the 2013 goal of cutting water use by 25 percent below average levels.
“If we do the same as last year and cut use by 25 percent, we can definitely make it through another summer,” said Langston.
He added, “We will still have 700 acre-feet of water at the end of the summer, but we will be in a world of hurt next year if we have another dry winter.”
Langston asked city residents to watch their water use carefully. The new meters can be monitored to determine use patterns and if there are leaks.
A new deep well at the golf course will be connected to the city culinary lines in a few weeks. It will add about 100 gallons per minute to the city supply, which is about half of the peak culinary use.
The city accepted a $298,950 bid from Grimshaw Drilling in Cedar City to drill an additional well near the Monticello Airport.
The engineer estimated that the cost would be $320,000.
Grimshaw Drilling is expected to move equipment this week and should be drilling shortly.
About $300,000 will remain from the emergency funds provided by the Utah Community Impact Board to drill and develop deep wells.
In other matters at the April 8 meeting, the city eliminated a bond and application requirement for off-site alcohol permits.
Both Police Chief Kent Adair, and the convenience stores that the policy impacts, thought that the bond and application procedures were excessive.
An annual renewal of the alcohol permit is still needed, but the renewal process has been simplified. City officials state that the city policy is still more stringent than state requirements.
Laurie Schafer, interim CEO at San Juan Health Service District, met with the council. The health service district operates clinics in Monticello and Blanding and San Juan Hospital. Schafer said the district is “definitely doing better financially.”
“We are not out of the woods, but things are looking up,” said Schafer.
Doug Allen, representing the Hometown Heroes organization, presented checks for $500 each to the Monticello Police Department and the Monticello Fire Department.
The funds will be used as needed by the departments.