PRWID Board Endorses Issuing Bonds for Improvement Projects
A number of neighborhoods in the unincorporated part of the county will see utility work taking place during the summer based on a decision by the Price River Water Improvement District board last Tuesday. The board decided to issue revenue bonds to fund the improvement projects.
The sale of bonds totaling $600,000 along the procurement of a half million dollar grant will provide funding for projects from Spring Glen through the outside of Wellington city limits.
At last week's meeting, PRWID staff described the projects and gave the board cost estimates for the improvements. The projects include improvements at 4420 North, estimated at $34,300; 4340 North, estimated at $27,600; and Spring Glen Wash, estimated at $56,500.
There are also two Carbonville projects in the works. The projects include one near 1700 north on the road by DBT, estimated at $153,300; and another in the neighborhood of 900 North near Carbonville Road, estimated at $63,500.
A third possible improvement involves a line extension from 1100 North to 1250 North if the actual bids provide the financial room to proceed.
Another project will take place near mud flats and Utah Highway 10 to replace a pump station that has been troublesome. The project is estimated at $117,900.
An additional improvement involves the area known as Baw-denville. Estimated at $110,700, the project will bring sewer to a small development that currently relies on septic tanks.
Near Wellington, there are two projects. One is located east and north of town, estimated at $110,800; and the other small $15,000 project is southeast of the city.
"These estimates are just that," said Keith Cox, PRWID board chair. "When these go out to bid, the actual bids may be lower."
The cost to pay back the bonds to PRWID customers - not incorporated consumers - will be $1.73 per month more for the next 20 years.
During the public hearing on the rate increase, questions from citizens in attenadance motivated the board and the PRWID staff to explain about how projects work in terms of service and payment.
The first question approached the subject of how the district sets priorities for projects.
"There are some areas where there are health problems," indicate PRWID director Phil Palmer. "That is the main emphasis. We also get some of the projects from requests that have been over the years for service in extended areas."
The discussion led to specific projects and the fact that the improvements would probably be bid jointly so one contractor could complete all the work by fall.
"If the people in the county are paying for these improvements and extensions, I want to know how PRWID recoups the costs of the work if a city or town annexes that area and takes the lines into their own systems," pointed out Spring Glen resident Lynna Topolovec.
Even if a city annexes an area, Cox indicated that PRWID cannot turn over the improvements until the bond is paid off.
But Topolovec felt the question had not been answered.
"What I mean is how do you pay county residents who have paid for this back if the city does take over the system," said the Spring Glen resident. "Our rates have changed $6 per month in the last few years and now on top of that it will be another $1.73. How are you going to pay people back for what they have paid for?"
Topolovec brought up the case of a resident in the audience with a home hooked directly to a trunk line. The situation put the resident in a similar situation as a city hooking from a municipal line right into the main.
"She shouldn't have to pay for this because all she is using is the main and the treatment plant, not the laterals to the neighborhoods," stated Topolovec.
"The fact is that the cost of improvements to the system are shared by everyone on PRWID's lines," said Jeff Richens, assistant district director. "The cities are different in that all they pay for are the trunk lines, the collection and the treatment plant. They have to pay for maintaining their own lines within their city limits. It was decided when this district was set up that all county users pay the same price."
It was also pointed out that PRWID generally serves direct customers in the county, it also directly serves some customers in cities as well and these people would also be charged the increase.
"It works both ways," said Palmer. "There are county residents who are served by city lines as well."
Cox pointed out that in most cases, PRWID just keeps ownership of the lines when a city does any annexation.
Another comment pointed out that it seems the smaller county population is paying a disproportionate amount to fund the system for the entire county.
According to statistics cited, the county has 19 percent of the people living in it while Price has 59 percent, Helper has 14 percent and Wellington has 8 percent.
"If you look at it, everyone in the county is paying the same for trunk and treatment facilities," stated Cox. "The difference is what people are paying their various districts to maintain their collection systems."
Richens pointed out that Price city pays $75,000 a month to PRWID for trunk and treatment systems. He also said that Price is overall spending more money for the service and the maintenance of their lines than PRWID.
"But they have more users to spread the cost out farther," responded Cox as he explained why city rates are generally lower to each individual customer than PRWID's rates are in the county.