Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Hailey City Council adopts new water rates

City to start metered rates Oct. 1

Express Staff Writer

The Hailey City Council on Monday viewed for the first time proposed new water rates that will be put in place throughout the city in the coming months.

The new rates, introduced by Hailey City Engineer Tom Hellen, will take effect once the city changes over to metered water rates on Oct. 1, the start of Hailey's 2006-2007 budget.

To better illustrate what the changeover will mean for residents, Hellen gave the city's elected officials a spreadsheet detailing their actual water usages for a number of select months. The spreadsheet further indicates what the officials rates would be based on their water usage.

"To try to give them a view of what people will be paying," Hellen said Tuesday.

One of the primary reasons Hailey is going to metered water rates is to encourage greater water conservation. Residents who cut back on their water use shouldn't see their water rates rise much, if at all, Hellen said.

"If you cut down on your use, you're not going to be paying more," he said.

As a way to encourage water conservation, the proposed new water rates will grow progressively larger the more water residents use. Under the proposed rates residents will pay:

• A base monthly rate of $7.95.

• $0.48 per 1,000 gallons for usages up to 50,000 gallons.

· $0.97 per 1,000 gallons for usages between 50,000 and 100,000 gallons.

• $1.38 per 1,000 gallons for usages between 100,000 and 150,000 gallons.

• $1.73 per 1,000 gallons for usages between 150,000 and 200,000 gallons.

• $2.07 per 1,000 gallons for usages between 200,000 and 1,000,000 gallons.

During Monday's meeting, the council also approved a series of proposed revisions to the water and wastewater regulations portion of Hailey's municipal code. The revisions are related to the city's scheduled changeover to metered water rates.

• In other Hailey water news, City Clerk Heather Dawson last week sent out a news release announcing that the city was experiencing low water tank levels. Dawson said the decreased water levels were leading to lower water pressures throughout the city.

Due in part to Mayor Susan McBryant's call for water conservation, water levels in the city's reservoirs had risen to near normal levels by late in the weekend, Dawson said Monday.

Dawson noted that Hailey prohibits irrigation between the hours of 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. She said the city is currently patrolling in an effort to enforce the city's established hours of irrigation.

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