Marana proposes water rate increases

2014-01-16T00:00:00Z Marana proposes water rate increasesBy Becky Pallack Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

The Marana Utilities Department plans to increase water rates by 26 percent over four years and hike wastewater rates by 9 percent this year.

The proposed rate increases are needed to maintain service levels and improve facilities to meet the community’s standards, utilities director John Kmiec said.

If the Town Council approves the higher fees in February, they would take effect in April. A typical monthly residential bill would increase by about $5 each year for four years.

There hasn’t been a rate increase in three years, Kmiec said.

The extra revenue would help cover the rising costs of electricity and water from the Central Arizona Project. The town also wants to add a utility engineer and new customer service clerks to the staff, Kmiec said.

Capital expenses are expected to increase around 25 percent over the next four years as the town completes electrical upgrades at old well sites, inspects and repairs reservoir linings and continues with regular maintenance.

Debt payments also will increase as the town finances projects to replace main water lines and upgrade other infrastructure.

While the water rate increase is a four-year plan, the wastewater rate increase is intended to be a one-time thing, Kmiec said. The utilities department is hoping upgrades will make the sewage treatment system more efficient, and staff will study whether further increases could be needed, he said.

The new sewage treatment plant the town bought from Pima County will be paid for by wastewater and water impact fees, which are paid only by new developments and not by regular customers. Impact fees can be used for new infrastructure that comes with new development, but they can’t be used for operation and maintenance of current facilities.

A public hearing on the proposed rate increases is planned for 7 p.m. Feb. 18 at the Marana Municipal Complex, 11555 W. Civic Center Drive. The public may also submit comments to the Utilities Department, 5100 W. Ina Road, Tucson 85704. 

Contact reporter Becky Pallack at bpallack@azstarnet.com or 573-4251. On Twitter: @BeckyPallack

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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