|A secondary water system runs at capacity near Wellington. Residents of Wellington signed petitions asking the mayor and council of the city to turn water management over to Price River Water Improvement District.|
More than 200 residents of Wellington signed a petition to asking the mayor and council to turn the management of the city's culinary system over to the Price River Water Improvement District.
Cindy O'Neil presented the council with the petition at a regularly scheduled public meeting on June 22.
Two councilmembers, Glenn Wells and Paula Noyes, were unable to attend the meeting last Wednesday.
The petition has been circulating around Wellington as proponents of the change asked citizens to sign, indicating that the cost for water to city residents would decrease if PRWID managed the system.
O'Neil explained that water bills for residents of Wellington were generally double those of non-residents.
She said that the same water lines run into Wellington at one end and out of Wellington on the other.
While PRWID charges one amount for water at either end of the pipe, Wellington charges more for water users on the same line who live within city limits.
Mayor Karl Houskeeper, who also sits on the PRWID board, said the comparison may be erroneous because PRWID charges users variable amounts based on a number of factors.
O'Neil also made a comparison between Wellington and Price rates.
Houskeeper said that such a comparison was not appropriate because Price, along with other cities, such as Helper, East Carbon and Sunnyside, owns a complete water distribution system.
Each of those cities has a source for water, a chlorination facility, treatment facilities where necessary, tanks for storage and pipes for distribution.
Wellington, on the other hand, does not.
While the city owns the pipes under the local streets, Wellington has to buy water from PRWID.
Houskeeper added that the city is looking closely at that situation. While Wellington uses PRWID water, PRWID uses Wellington's water shares to access some of that water.
"We have a certain number of water shares that we are told they don't use," said Houskeeper. He suggested that it doesn't make sense for Wellington to be charged the full amount for water. He explained that PRWID is currently charging Wellington for both treatment and cost, and that it doesn't make sense for Wellington to be buying water that it already owns the rights for. He said PRWID should only be charging for treatment and the cost of delivery.
O'Neil said that, despite those factors, the city should still look into the possibility of turning the water system over to PRWID. However, that option was still met with concern by members of the council.
"By the time they come in and look at it, the cost may be more than they originally thought," said councilmember Robert Bertola.
The mayor and members of the council reminded O'Neil that the city has debt related to the water system and the amount would still need to be paid .
If PRWID agreed and the council turned the city's system over to the district, there may be costs associated with the change in management.
Until the costs are all paid, Wellington would likely see higher rates than what residents might expect.
The council agreed to take the petition under consideration, but decided not to make any action on the matter, because two members of the council were absent.
In an unrelated matter, Headwater Energy Services approached the council about obtaining a business license in the city of Wellington.
Representatives from Headwater explained that the company has obtained all permits except an air quality permit.
The business, located on Ridge Road, will accept coal from various sources, resize it, clean it and return the cleaned product to the source. Waste will go to a third recipient.
During the process, Headwater will not purchase any of the material processed. Instead, the original owner will retain ownership.
The mayor and councilmembers expressed their opinion that the business may need to be regulated by the Utah Division of Oil, Gas and Mining.
Headwater representatives said they had spoken with DOGM officials and were of the opinion that DOGM wasn't going to regulate their operations.
Houskeeper said that if DOGM didn't regulate Headwater, the city would require a bond for reclamation before they granted a business license.
However, the amount of that bond is not established by any city ordinance or statute.
Headwater said that they would post a non-cash bond for $50,000.
Councilmembers said that a more appropriate amount would be $100,000.
No amount was agreed upon by the city and company representatives.
Headwater still has to present the business to the city's planning and zoning board. The company plans to do so at the July 6 meeting. The city has scheduled a special council session after the planning and zoning meeting to review the business license.