During their June 10 meeting, council members approved an almost 10 percent increase to the current sewer rates. According to Moab City Manager Donna Metzler, the increase, and last year’s 5.5 percent increase are being done, in part, to help secure funding for upgrades to the city’s wastewater treatment plant.
“We determined we needed to do a progressive increase to our sewer rates,” she said, adding that the city’s current rates are very low compared to other areas in the state.
The fee hike will help improve the city’s eligibility for loans and grants from the state of Utah, she said.
“In order to receive low interest loans or grants from the State of Utah, the city must show that sewer system users pay a reasonable monthly charge for sewer services,” the resolution passed by the council stated.
Those charges are based on the median adjusted gross household income (MAGI) and cannot exceed 1.4 percent of that figure. Based on the 2010 U.S. Census data, putting Moab’s MAGI at $32,620, the city’s current sewer rate of $15.45 is 0.57 percent of MAGI, according to the resolution.
“If our rates are too low, [the state] won’t look favorably on our situation,” council member Kirstin Peterson said.
The rate will increase to $16.90 for residential customers beginning in July. A memo prepared by Moab city staff said that additional increases may be needed in the future.
“It is likely that additional increases will be needed over the next couple of years,” the memo stated. “Operational costs for the upgraded plant are not yet known, but are likely to be more expensive than current operational costs.”
Spanish Valley Water and Sewer Service Agency customers will also see an increase, since the agency pays the city for use of the sewer plant. However, according to city staff, that increase will not take place until Aug. 1 in order to give the agency ample time to notify customers of the increase. For those residential connections, the monthly rate will increase to $7.70.