Helper water rates clarified
Public concern has been pouring into the Helper City offices this past week after a water rate increase was announced. Although the increase has not yet been voted on, residents fear that it will only be a matter of weeks until the rates do go up.
The Helper City council agreed two weeks ago that a rate increase would be the best option to obtain much needed funds which will go directly to water maintenance.
"This city is lined with old pipes which continue to break and cause problems. In order for us to take care of these ongoing problems and to provide the quality service to the residents of Helper, a rate increase is almost inevitable," explained council member Bob Welch.
The city agreed to table this agenda item until the next public council meeting which will take place March 20 at the Helper Auditorium. At this time, the council hopes to hear suggestions and concerns from Helper residents concerning the rate increase.
"I am open to any and all suggestions. Right now, I feel that this is the only option, but we as a council are willing to listen to public advice," Welch stated.
Residents are already storming the council with ideas and suggestions. Also, confusion has been stirred up as to how the rate increase will work.
Currently, Helper residents are charged $12 monthly for up to 6,000 gallons. This breaks down to $2 per 1,000 gallons.
The rate increase proposes that a flat rate of $5 be charged per month as a meter usage fee. From this amount, the residents will then be charged $1.50 per 1,000 gallons of water used up to 10,000 gallons. Anything over 10,000 gallons used per month will then be charged $2.00 per 1,000 gallons.
"The way that we are proposing the rates be set up will encourage residents to conserve water. The less water they use, the less they will pay. Actually, the per gallon fee is going down 50 cents from the current price. So if a resident conserves water, they may end up paying less than they currently pay," explained Welch.
If the rate increase does go into effect, the resident will see a $2 increase in the rate if they use the 6,000 gallons each month which is currently billed. If the resident uses less however, they may see a decrease in their monthly charge.
"It's pretty simple. Conserve water and not only will water be saved, but money will be too," stated Welch.
Because water usage is not metered during the winter months, a flat $13 monthly rate will go into effect and will allow residents to use up to 10,000 gallons.
The sewer rate will also increase if the council votes on the rate hike. The rate for sewer will go up from $16.50 per month to $18.50 per month and this rate will be effective throughout the year.
"We have had quite a bit of confusion about the rate increase and we just want residents to be clear on what we are proposing. We encourage any suggestions and look toward hearing these at the upcoming public meeting," concluded Welch.
With a drought year upon Carbon County, Helper residents may find some relief from the water charges this summer when conserving the valuable resource.