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PRWID Explores Impact Fees

Staff reporter

The Price River Water Improvement District board faces a difficult decision regarding local culinary and sewer impact fees.

An impact analysis was recently completed for the district in order for PRWID to manage growth fees and comply with the laws of Utah.

Presently, the district charges people constructing homes in unincorporated areas of the county $800 to connect to the sewer and $1,000 to connect to the water.

In addition, the homeowners must turn over at least one share of water to PRWID and pay to have sewer lines laid to the district's system.

New or remodeled businesses are charged according to residential equivalents, based on the average use of homes. The average is considered to be 228,000 gallons of water use a year and an 8,000 gallon discharge per month into the sewer system. The cost of the impact fee is calculated according to the base figures in connection with the type of business.

"It's time we moved toward a more uniform fee charge," indicated PRWID assistant manager Jeff Richens as last Tuesday's board meeting. "The fact is that we need to get more in line with the states regulations, which leans toward having fees between cities and county systems being closer together. Right now, building in the county pays more."

The recently completed study is a 40-page document that weighs all the factors and make determinations on the maximum amounts the district could charge for impact fees.

The charges are based on systems available, quality of service, debt ratios and comparisons to similar geographical areas. A 1997 study suggested PRWID could charge as much as $1,633 for sewer impact fees and $1,038 for water impact fees. The new study raised the levels, suggesting a $1,053 maximum for water and a $2,566 impact fee for sewer.

"This is something we need to take some time to study," noted PRWID manager Phil Palmer. "The last report was never taken back to the cities. Instead, the board just left things the same as they were. This time, I think the cities need to be informed."

The board agreed with Palmer before discussing how to present the situation to the three municipalities involved - Price, Wellington and Helper.

The board decided to draft a letter for the cities' representatives on the board to present to the councils for input. Karl Houskeeper represents Wellington, Betty Wheeler represents Price and Tony Gonzales represents Helper on the PRWID panel. Richens will attend the city council meetings to clarify the water district's point of view.

"The main thing is that we can't delay too long in correcting this disparity between the cities and the district, because it is so out of balance," concluded the water improvement district spokesman.

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