Customers of the Mountain Regional Water District who notice its proposal to create impact fees at this Wednesday's Summit County Council meeting can rest assured that the new fees will actually be lower than before, as the district is making all of its impact fees uniform.

Right now, Mountain Regional has eight different service areas, all with different capital fees. The impact fees for each of those service areas range from $13,000-16,000, according to General Manager Andy Armstrong.

The new proposed impact fee is $10,513 across the board for all of the service areas except Promontory. That impact fee is per residential equivalent connection (ERC), or about a 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom house, Armstrong said. The impact fees are based on the demand that a home of about 3,500 square feet creates.

The definition of an impact fee is both the one-time cost of expanding water infrastructure to a new home and the calculation of how much water that home will use over the course of the next year. Existing homes and businesses do not pay impact fees unless they add something that would increase their water demand.

Armstrong said Mountain Regional is in the midst of growing and acquiring more service areas. Having uniform impact fees such as these will aid the district in what he calls "getting truly regionalized."

"The news is our impact fees are lower than they had been in the past," Armstrong said. "We will now have one uniform impact fee for all of the service areas."

Mountain Regional customers, Armstrong said, also have some of the lowest water use rates in the state, due mainly to the district's conservation-based rates.

"As individual consumption goes up, our rates go up. If someone starts to use a lot of water, the amount of money they have to pay goes up," Armstrong said. "The more they consume, the higher the rates get. It's linear and it encourages people to try to use less water."

This conservation-based rate amounts to 0.6 acre-feet of water rights per ERC per year. For most water companies, that rate is 0.75 acre-feet per year. Mountain Regional customers, however, use only 0.4 acre-feet of water per year, on average, Armstrong said.

For more information on Mountain Regional Water's rates and fees, visit mtregional.org.

The Summit County Council will hold several public hearings on Wednesday, Feb. 5, regarding the proposed impact fees. The hearings are set to begin at 6 p.m. and will take place at the Sheldon Richins Building, 1885 W. Ute Boulevard.