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Disconnection gets risky in Helper

Sun Advocate associate editor

Owners of vacant homes and shops in Helper may want to think twice before they decide to disconnect from the city's water and sewer systems.

The city is warning them that the cost of hooking back up could be a lot more expensive than the $19.50 per month dormant connection fee they'd be charged.

There's a caveat at the end of the recently drafted application for disconnection that advises the reconnection expense could be as much as $10,000 based on the most recent construction estimates.

The reason for that is that the city would have to install entirely new laterals and meters to reconnect the water and sewer. There is no telling how difficult that would be in the future, given that Helper is getting ready to reconstruct just about all of its water and sewer facilities.

When that massive overhaul takes place, there will be no provision for upgrading those connections that have been voluntarily disconnected. That could have impacts on the value of the property, its marketability or insurability, the disconnection application warns.

The city council decided last year to begin charging a monthly fee for all connections, regardless of whether they were being used or not. The reason was that the city was incurring the expense of maintaining service even if the connection was idle.

Property owners now have the option of disconnecting to avoid the monthly dormant fee. However, the city wants to make sure they are aware of the consequences.

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