New Water Rate Information
Effective October 1, 2023
Justification for Water Rate Increase
For the past several months the Town Council, along with the Huntsville Town Water Committee, has been reviewing the costs associated with our culinary water system. Thanks to hours of research and data review by Ron Gault, the Town Council concluded that we are not charging enough for our water to keep up with the costs of maintenance and depreciation for our water plant. The Town Council passed a 15% water rate increase at the September 21, 2023 Town Council meeting. The base monthly rate will increase from $50 to $57.50 for in-Town connections and from $65 to $75 for out-of-Town connections. The following is history and justification for the rate increase.
Our water source is a set of springs in the hills southeast of Town that we share with the Monastery property. The springs flow from the surface, and therefore require treatment to filter out any particulate matter that comes from surface influences, primarily during spring runoff, and treating of the water with a small amount of State-required chlorine disinfectant. After treatment, the water is pumped to a million-gallon reservoir where the distribution system then provides gravity-fed, pressure-controlled water to the users. As we all know, water is an ongoing and increasing concern in Ogden Valley; and Huntsville Town is blessed to have what’s been such a consistent source. The city fathers showed excellent foresight in designing our current system, building it to allow for growth and sustainability. To meet a State mandate, the Town recently negotiated rights to develop, and in periods of need, use a second source of water via the drilling of a well which is now in the final phase of demonstrating it is a State-acceptable second source.
Since 1998, the Town has been delivering water through a State-certified water treatment plant built in the late 1997-98 which is now worth $5 million. The Town was fortunate to receive grants to cover a substantial portion of the cost of the plant and secure low-interest loans to cover the remainder, which the Town is still making payments on. As we sit now at over 24+-years in-service, the system is functioning extremely well, having just passed another State inspection with ‘flying colors.’ However, 20+ years of continuous service takes a toll and maintenance issues will be ongoing and increasing.
Huntsville Town’s water system is one of the finest small systems in the State and the Town Council is committed to protecting it and keeping it that way. The Town has been fortunate in obtaining funding for our water plant via grants, etc., the latest being the receipt of ARPA funding that allowed installation of a backup power supply to guarantee water production during times of power outages, resulting in a substantially reduced cost burden on users. Water is a precious commodity and with the ever-increasing growth in the valley, experts predict that our sources will be severely stressed in the future.
Over the years, the Town has conducted several upgrades to the treatment plant and our delivery system infrastructure to improve its functionality and reliability and eliminate any lead containing piping. In the next year we will be required to conduct a survey to determine a residual lead componentry in our system and produce a plan to eliminate it.
The 15% rate increase will help adjust revenue to account for the inflationary and increasing maintenance costs to source, treat and deliver our culinary water. The increase closely follows the rate of inflation for the past 4 years. The increased revenue will be applied to fund ongoing maintenance costs and continue building a reserve fund that will be needed in the future as the system ages and requires increased maintenance and refurbishments.
Please refer to the water rate chart for the new rates. The base rate covers the first 7,000 gallons of water per month. Approximately 82% of our users are in this category. There are categories adopted for those who use more than 7,000 gallons per month. The first category for those who use more than 7,000 gallons but less than 20,000 gallons per month will be increased to $6.75 (in-Town connections) for each 1000 gallons of water used over 7,000 gallons. There are about 12% of our users in this category. All other categories for overage use of water will be increased by 15%.