Helper opts to hike rates to promote water conservation
By the first heat of summer, Helper's springs were running at 50 percent, said councilmember Richard Sherman in an interview Thursday.
Dry weather conditions for several years in a row have depleted the springs which provide the water supply for Helper.
The Helper City Council voted to approve an increase in water rates for the first time since 1992 in an attempt to remedy the situation.
It is hoped that a rate increase will encourage residents to conserve the precious commodity without mandating water rations, explained Sherman.
The rate increase does not apply to the base water use of 10,000 gallons per month, but to water use that exceeds that amount, pointed out Sherman.
The Helper residents who are on fixed incomes generally do not exceed the base water usage and should not be impacted by the rate increase, pointed out Sherman.
Water service is assessed on a monthly basis as calculated on a fluctuating base amount of gallons.
The monthly base amount is equal to Helper's actual water production from its own springs and its usage of Colton wells divided by the number of water connections.
The base amount should not exceed 10,000 gallons per month.
It is usage greater than the designated 10,000 gallons per month that will experience the rate increase, pointed out Sherman.
The Helpercity rate hike will register at 30 percent, straight across the board, for consumers using water in excess of the established base amount.
For residential properties located within the city limits, the increase amounts to $1.89 per 1,000 gallons of water used above the base amount.
The residential rate outside of the Helper city limits will increase $2.08 per 1,000 gallons for the next 6,000 gallons.
The rate will climb to $2.15 per 1,000 gallons for the next 6,000 gallons and then increase to $2.28 per 1,000 for water used in excess of that amount.
Commercial rates will increase $1.63 per the next 6,000 gallons, plus $1.69 per 1,000 for the next 20,000, plus $1.82 per 1,000 gallons for water used above that amount.
The Helper city water rate increases will become effective on Aug. 15.
"The water tanks are still full, largely because the people in Helper are aware of the conditions and taking steps to conserve," pointed out Sherman.
Helper officials hope that the city's water rate hike will increase awareness and improve conservation efforts, concluded Sherman.