PRWID Board Delays Decision on South Price Water Company
The residents of a south Price subdivision seeking to turn their water company over to the Price River Water Improvement District left Tuesday's meeting still wondering what the outcome will be.
For the third time, homeowners who are served by the Pinnacle/John Paul Water Company sat in the audience listening as PRWID boardmembers discussed details of the residents' proposal.
The issue was first heard March 4 and again April 9 both times the board asked residents and PRWID staff to gather more data and get more feedback on the system's infrastructure.
"The Pinnacle/John Paul members have not had a chance to see the new agreement," said district manager Jeffrey Richens as the discussion opened.
A reworking of the initial agreement presented to the board March 4 was one request made by the members at the April 9 meeting before a decision could be reached.
In addition, fire flow tests done on the system's hydrants in April needed to be reviewed by Price Fire Chief Paul Bedont.
Both the new agreement and the recommendations from Bedont were on hand May 6. It was the fire chief's remarks on the system that appeared to provide the biggest stumbling block in the latest round of discussion.
Fire flow is described as the amount of water necessary to fight a fire for a particular building. Carbon County requires flow to 500 gallons per minute with a minimum of 40 PSI (pounds per square inch) of pressure.
Pinnacle/John Paul's hydrants met the requirements with a range of 104 PSI to 84 PSI.
Despite meeting the minimum county codes, Bedont expressed concerns about the distance some of the residences were from the hydrants. He said, however, he would feel more comfortable sending his department out to fight a fire with a system that is being maintained by a government entity.
The actual content of the chief's letter was not revealed at the meeting but seemed to be of concern to many of the board members.
"Anytime you get a recommendation and don't follow it from an agency like the fire department or UDOT, you face a lot of liability," said boardmember Karl Houskeeper.
Boardmember Keith Cox expressed an opinion that countered Houskeeper's.
"Wouldn't that same line of thinking apply to all homes in the county?" asked Cox.
The discussions concerning Pinnacle/John Paul have been characterized by weaving in and out between specifics of the water company and PRWID's policies as they are applied county wide.
Tuesday, however, the focus was on potential financial impacts to the district if it absorbs the small company.
At the core of the concern is a four-inch pipe that makes up approximately 50 percent of Pinnacle/John Paul's lines.
When the system, which serves 25 homes in the area between 500 West and 1625 South, was installed in 1978 it met the standards.
In the 30 years since, the state has upped the requirements for new developments to eight-inch lines.
Though no decision has been made, the bulk of discus centered around costs of upgrades to bring the system in line.
"If the board decides to take it (Pinnacle/John Paul) we should look to a funding package," Richens said. "Of course the other option is that we aren't really interested in taking it over."
Richen's told the board that he had come up with a preliminary estimate of the cost to bring the system up to current code, $62,000 to replace 1,400 feet of four-inch line, $7,500 for three new hydrants and $30,000 for additional finishing costs.
All total he projected it would cost approximately $100,000, which he said about 25 percent would qualify for grants.
With PRWID recently raising its rates to help dig itself out of $12 million worth of bond debt, it didn't appear that going any further out on the financial limb was too appealing to the board members.
"Once we take it on it's nobody's problem but ours," said boardmember Mike Dalpiaz. "I'm not willing to stick my neck out."
However, if the system could be absorbed and function with pumping the money into it, the idea seemed to set a little better with other boardmembers.
"I wouldn't mind seeing us take it over as it is, as long as we don't have to do the upgrades," commented boardmember Steve Rigby.
In addition, another issue rose up that was of particular concern to the residents.
The subdivision has 25 homes and has allowances for nine additional.
Rick Shiner, who has served as spokesman for Pinnacle/John Paul, told the board that the residents are adamant about keeping their subdivision at a maximum of 34 residences.
If it does become part of PRWID, Richens indicated that he wasn't sure they could set the same limits.
The board decided to have the attorney representing both parties, Nick Sampinos, review the fire chief's recommendations and advise the water improvement district whether limiting the number of residences would be possible.
The issue would then be brought back for review and perhaps a final decision.