Water rates won’t increase | ParkRecord.com

Water rates won’t increase

Patrick Parkinson, Of the Record staff

Water rates for homeowners will not increase next year and officials at Mountain Regional Water Special Service District were praised Wednesday by a man in Silver Springs who criticized the public water company in the past.

"Under their present leadership, obviously, they have provided us water," Snyderville Basin resident Ron Duyker said at a public hearing in Coalville.

He lauded the Summit County Commission for forming an administrative control board to help oversee Mountain Regional Water.

"We just really appreciate it," Duyker said.

The new budget for Summit County’s Mountain Regional Water Special Service District adopted this week shows a dramatic decrease in debt.

Most households the Snyderville Basin company served in 2001 used one equivalent residential connection that represented about $25,800 worth of debt, said Andy Armstrong, general manager for Mountain Regional Water.

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Today that number has dropped to $6,590.

"It’s just one piece of good news after another," Summit County Commissioner Sally Elliott said.

Wednesday the Summit County Commission approved a $5.3 million operating budget for Mountain Regional Water Special Service District for 2008, which represents a 12 percent increase over last year.

Driving the increase are higher costs for purchasing water and electricity, increasing treatment costs and attorney fees due to several lawsuits Mountain Regional is party to, said Scott Green, financial officer for the water company.

Rates for homeowners will not increase because Mountain Regional officials expect to earn almost $5.4 million, Armstrong said.

"Our rates will remain the same for 2008," Green said.

The staff at Mountain Regional is leaner than when the district formed. The company began with 11 full-time employees for every 1,000 customers. Today the district employs fewer the five people for every 1,000 equivalent residential connections.

Government officials spent more than $30 million forming the public water company about seven years ago. Much of the bond money was used to purchase smaller water systems to regionalize service in the Snyderville Basin into one provider.