Park City introduces fee on water bills | ParkRecord.com

Park City introduces fee on water bills

Casey Coleman, the streets and stormwater supervisor for the Park City Public Utilities Department, inspects a vehicle the department purchased for $360,000 in 2015. The specialized vehicle is used to clean underground stormwater pipes and catch basins, the Public Utilities Department says, describing that it is able to clean a 250-foot section of pipe at one time. The municipal government acquired the vehicle using monies set aside for capital purchases but will pay for the maintenance and operations through a new fee added to water bills.

Park City municipal water customers saw a newly instituted fee added to the bills for the first time in August, something that will provide officials with an ongoing funding source as the Public Utilities Department continues its efforts to protect the watershed.

The Park City Council created the fee during City Hall's budget talks in the spring and early summer. The funds will be spent on projects meant to keep pollutants out of the storm water system, which drains into the watershed. The municipal government's fiscal year started on July 1, meaning that the fee was introduced to the bills during the August cycle.

The amount of the fee depends on the location and category of a water customer. City Hall split Park City's neighborhoods into approximately 35 zones for the purpose of figuring the fee for residential customers. Officials averaged the amount of impervious area, such as driveways, parking lots and rooftops, in a zone and calculated the fee based on the average. The fee attached to commercial properties was based on the actual impervious area.

According to the Public Utilities Department, the monthly fee on houses ranges from $3.75 per month to $26.25 per month. As examples, the $3.75 monthly fee is charged in Old Town while the $26.25 per month is charged in parts of Park Meadows, Solamere and upper Deer Valley.

The fee on multifamily residences is $3.75 per unit each month. The fee paid by commercial customers climbs to as much as $1,500 each month.

Clint McAffee, the public utilities director for City Hall, said the department has fielded questions about the new fee since customers started receiving the August water bills. The City Council discussed the fee publicly during the budget talks, but it was not clear whether the charge was well known in the community prior to the billing cycle.

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The fee is expected to raise approximately $1 million in the first 12 months, running from July of 2016 until June of 2017. The fee will increase over a four-year span, which will allow City Hall to phase out funding from another municipal source.

Park City intends to use 60 percent of the money raised on infrastructure, such as replacing curbs, gutters and pipes, and equipment. One of the pieces of equipment includes a truck that is able to clear large segments of pipe. The rest of the money will be split between personnel costs, set at 25 percent, materials and supplies, at 10 percent, and 5 percent in contract services and miscellaneous costs, McAffee said.

More information is available on the City Hall website, http://www.parkcity.org. The direct link to the Public Utilities Department's stormwater division is: http://www.parkcity.org/departments/public-utilities/stormwater-division. The website also offers a map with the various zones.