96 South Main Street, PO Box 77, Nephi, Utah 84648 - Voice: 435 623-0525 - FAX: 435 623-4735
On our front page this week
By Myrna Trauntvein
Mona city residents will pay $3 more per month for culinary water beginning September 1.
In addition to raising the water rate $3 for the coming year, the rate will raise $3 each of the consecutive five years.
Frank Riding, city council member, also made the motion to not only increase the rate but to change the number of gallons used before overage fees are charged.
“The overage today is $3 per 1,000 gallons above 1,700 gallons and I make the motion that we change that to $3 per 1,000 gallons above 1,500.”
Those outside the city will also be charged more for culinary delivery.
Following a public hearing, where only one person had questions, Mona City Council met in the regular session of council meeting to consider the question of whether to raise water fees paid by local residents for their monthly culinary water delivery.
Jonathan Jones, acting as mayor pro tempore, in the absence of Mayor Bill Mills, who was on vacation, said that he thought the rates should be raised.
“We have not raised water rates in the past 20 years,” said Jones.
That could be considered a good thing by residents but considering the need for future improvements to the water system, it could also be considered a bad thing. The city needed more funds in order to bring in money to do needed projects.
“In 2014, Sunrise Engineering did a water study for us,” said Jones. “That study said that within five to 10 years we would need to have another water tank.”
The council will look at impact fees, as well, but the city will need to have water rate funds paid by consumers to set aside for some of the needs for the water system improvements.
“The prices they estimated are now four years old and would be higher,” said Jones. “But we are behind on the suggestions they made for our five year plan.”
Sunrise suggested intermediate (within five years) improvements as: a 500,000 gallon water tank at $722,000; replace all water lines smaller than 4-inches at $307,000; mobilization of 5 percent at $64,000; contingency of 15 percent at $164,000; and incidentals and professional services at $248,000.
In 10 to 20 years, Sunrise said that the city should construct a new well with a minimum capacity of 1,000 gallons per minute at $495,000; and install a new 10-inch line along Cemetery Lane from the cemetery to 300 East to improve pressures and fire flows in the existing loop along 200 East and 300 East as well as throughout the south end of the area at $94,200.
They also suggested that the city install a new 8-inch line along 300 North at a cost of $66,650.
“We can’t get a grant or a loan to help if we do not charge our residents enough,” said Mike Stringer, city council member.
“We need to get about being responsible,” Jones said.
Everd Squire, city finance director, said that he knew that while he had held his city position—18 years—water rates had not be raised.
“How are we on our water?” asked Shanna Memmott, a resident.
She said that she liked to walk and hike and that in her trips to Burraston Ponds she had noticed that the water level was greatly reduced. In addition, because of the drought, the wildflowers had been affected.
Memmott wondered if Houweling’s had an effect on the water level.
“We use spring water for our drinking water,” said Jones.
He said the city was getting approximately 240 gallons per minute and, in fact, some of that water was going into the secondary irrigation system because the tank would not hold all the water.
“If we put in another water storage tank,” said Katrina Long, council member, “then we can capture that water we are now losing.”
Jones said that the city also needed to explore the idea of getting a secondary water system to all homeowners. For example, in High Meadows subdivision, homeowners were using the high quality drinking water on their lawns. So far, the system had been able to supply needs. The city would like the developer to add the older homes in the subdivision to any new development and provide irrigation water to all.
“I have been worried about the secondary system not being able to keep up,” said Memmott.
Much of the lower level of Burraston comes for the need of irrigators to use the water that feeds the ponds. Usually, when the irrigation cycle is complete, the water level slowly returns.
Houweling’s is drawing water from the aquifer. A farmer in Nephi sold the water being used to Houweling’s. The state engineer reduced the time that the tomato growers could take water out of the aquifer so the same amount would be pumped out as the farmer was using.
“The water allowed for use by Houweling’s took a haircut,” said Jones. “The state engineer is of the opinion that we are all on one aquifer. I have been worried that we will have too many straws in that aquifer.”
“The water meters need to be in good repair,” said Michelle Dalton, city secretary/treasurer.
A high priority will be placed on the meters that are not working. The meters that are not working properly will also be repaired so that all meters are working at peak performance.