The Alamo Sewer and Water District met September 18.
The meeting started with questions from the public about the sewer rate increase and whether the rates will increase at the same rate as the water. The sewer rates are currently $27.50 for residents. There will be an initial 10 percent raise and, after the first year, that will increase by six percent each year.
For businesses and bigger meters, the raise is higher than 10 percent. This raise in sewer rates will be enough to cover operational costs within the first year or two. After that, the increase will start building capital improvement funds to cover projects like replacing the lift-station pumps or other big item needs such as the rake and pond liners, after their service life has expired.
The biggest example of a need for a raise in both the water and sewer rates involves the amount of money the district has absorbed for residents since 2010, when the power rates for the district went from $17,000 to $44,000.
Wade Poulsen asked what period of time the rate increase covers. The board reiterated that this rate increase is over a five-year period. At that point, the rates will be revisited, to see if they can be maintained, or whether further smaller raises will be needed.
The district, which is on the list for State Revolving Funds, needs an income study done. The district currently has five projects in their preliminary engineering report (PER) and only one of them is still relevant.
The school and town’s irrigation will not be a part of the tiered program. They will stay at seventy cents per thousand gallons, whereas homeowners’ rates will change.
Once the new rates are approved, the board will have to wait thirty days to put them into effect. The 10-percent rate increase will most likely start in November and will stay the same for all of 2019. Then, in January 2020, the six percent raise will start, and so on, with each consecutive year for the five-year period, with usage rates rising three percent starting the second year.
Poulsen asked if the board had looked into other options like what Tonopah uses. Their meter rate is $3.50 per thousand gallons and residents get a discount of $15 or $20 a month. Their rate change started around 2006.
Vern Holladay mentioned that they had looked at Beatty and their base rate was a third of the district’s, with one-third more hookups, but they are able to keep it low because of all of the hotels and other big users in Beatty’s district. A non-profit that serves rural utilities, RCAC, gave the board the suggestion to make the base rate able to cover the district’s operational costs.
The hearing was closed with no further inquiries.
The USDA is finishing up feedback for Farr West Engineering on the district’s PER. The board approved the rate study and increase for sewer and water rates, feeling strongly that things will get worse if the rates aren’t addressed now. Failure to address the situation now may mean problems later on, when something major needs to be fixed or handled.
The district’s employees agreed to keep the employee health insurance the same. The district discussed missing the deadline to sign on as petitioners against the Southern Nevada Water Authority’s pipeline. According to the verbiage on the paperwork, even if the district doesn’t sign, it’s still involved.
The suggestion was made to have the Sandhill well’s screens cleaned since the top screens are currently plugged. This involves brushing the screens down through the depth of the well at 1100 feet. This could help with water quality as well. The first quote costs $50,000. The board asked to gather more quotes for the job and will decide on which one to go with at an upcoming meeting.
Everyone is hooked up to the new line on Purple Sage Road. The work truck doesn’t have very much turbo power and needs maintenance.
The sewer inspection from the state labeled everything as good, only requesting that signs be put up warning people not to play in the water ponds.
The break in Yoppsville has been fixed. The recent arsenic samples will come back towards the end of the month.