Utility Board

Utility Board Minutes 8/26/2008

Written by Allison Leavitt. Posted in Minutes.

MINUTES

MONROE CITY UTILITY BOARD

AUGUST 26TH, 2008

6:00 p.m.

1.         Chairman Buddy Qualls conducting

            Meeting called to order

            Prayer was offered by Chairman Buddy Qualls

            Approval of minutes of previous meeting

A motion was made by Board Member Craig Mathie, seconded by Board Member Perry Payne to approve the minutes of the July 8, 2008 Utility Board Meeting with grammar errors corrected.  All were in favor.  Motion carried.

Present:

            Chairperson:

                        Buddy Qualls

            Board Members:

                        Johnny Parsons

                        Perry Payne

                        R.K. Nielson

                        Craig Mathie

                        Jean Vigil – Council member

                        Allison Leavitt

            Council member:

                        Gordon Topham

            Other:

                        Sandy Phillips

                        Chad Hunt – Richfield Reaper

2.         Discussion items

            Need to clarify the utility board by-laws concerning board members terms.  Our by-laws state that no more than two terms are to expire at the same time.  Right now we have three to expire in 2010.  We will modify the terms so that one goes off either in 2008 or 2009. 

(A) Water lines outside Monroe City Limits.

            Continuing our discussion on water lines outside the city limits, Gordon Topham has come tonight to discuss upcoming public information meeting scheduled for September 23, 2008. 

            Gordon stated that before we get started he wanted the board to know that he received a phone call from a resident here in Monroe concerned that the proposed power plant in Sigurd might affect our water.   The concern is that as the plant starts to use water it may draw water from our water table and create a shortage to Monroe.  The state engineer does believe we are in the same water table, however, the main problem seems to be in the area of Venice and Sigurd. Gordon just felt that board needed to be made aware of this situation and that we may want to get more information regarding this issue. 

            Gordon presented information that was gathered from some 12 cities about their policy when it comes to water lines outside their city limits.  Helper and Elsinore charged the same rate in or out of the city limits. Elsinore has a wholesale situation such as we do with South Monroe.  Vernal charges one dollar more to the base rate, adds an additional .10 cents per thousand.  Garland doubles base rate and charges .25 cents per thousand more to outside users.  Fillmore charges $22.50 in town $31.50 out of town which is a hundred fifty percent increase and usage is the same.  Roosevelt goes from $20.00 inside to $30.00 outside and their usage is an extra .75 cents.  Heber charges more to outside. Delta’s base rate is $25.00 inside and $50.00 outside, this is double and the usage charge is double also.  Layton and Milford all fees are double to meters outside their city limits.  Gunnison base rate $13.50 inside, goes to $20.50 outside so it is about one half times more no information on usage rate.  Parowan City $16.39 inside $32.78 outside usage is $1.13 in $2.27 out, so their rates are double.  So these are the ones we received information on and it looks like the rates are generally double to one and half times more for outside city limits.

Gordon reviewed the resolution that we talked about a few weeks ago:

            The general feeling of the Utility Board in Monroe City assume the responsibility of our past history in responding to request for repairs therefore we propose that Monroe City enter into an agreement with the water tap owners outside the city limits.  This agreement will consist of a gradual replacement plan in which the water lines would be replaced to each meter.  A $20 minimum monthly charge will be charged to the outside tap owners to help cover the cost of pipe replacement, this fee can be negotiated as needed to insure working funds.  As funds become available from the city and fees collected from the tap right owners the pipe will be replaced on a gradual basis.  An information meeting will be held with the outside tap owner’s which will be for input and reaction to the proposal.  A letter will be sent to each tap right owner with details on the information meeting.  At this meeting tap owners can ask questions and give there input.

At this meeting we are going to be asked questions, Gordon feels like we need to discuss some of the possible questions so we have a clear answer for them. Some of these questions might be:

            Unused tap- Main discussion conclusion is that tap owners in town do not pay for their inactive meter even though our overhead continues, mainly because we have so few of what we call snow birds.  As Board Member Payne stated this is a different set of circumstances, we are not requiring they pay the base rate of $20.00 plus usage for an inactive meter we are asking that they pay the additional surcharge of $20.00 which will go towards the repairing and replacing of line outside the city limits.  They are essentially buying in to the water system.          

            Taps location-   We have more than ten homes that are just barely outside the city limits. Some examples: John Peterson, LeRon Ware, Arlan Dopp, Kay Monroe.     

            Do we want to purpose a different agreement with them.  Board members discussed that this would be splitting hairs and very confusing.  Perry stated again if these people want to opt out they can, however they will be totally responsible for all maintenance and operation. If they are outside the city limits fifty feet or two miles makes no difference.  This appears to be what other cities have done.  We do have the situation as McCarty’s and Phillips who have followed the agreement and did replace or install a new line.  There is a little difference between these two also.  Phillips put a new line in that runs down near his house and there sits the meter.  The McCarty’s, at the cities request moved their meter from down by the highway to the location it is at now, just outside the city limits.  The meter should have been placed by Ted Smith’s meter, at the city limits, but there was already a lot other utilities running along the road right there.  So Monroe City moved the meter and at their expense ran the new water line down the lane to their house. As we go through this process we are going to own these lines to the meters.  In Phillips case how are we going to buy this line from him.  R.K. questions whether we want to own this line, as before Gordon explained that from the legal stand point we do own these lines. We either have to accept all of the lines or none.  We do need to make an accommodation for such circumstances as Glen Phillips.

            R.K. asked what are we going to do with lines once we own them, comment was made that we will do the same as we have been doing, and we will maintain them.  All the cities that we surveyed in exception of Elsinore, maintain the lines outside the city limits.  Again Elsinore’s situation is on a wholesale basis.   

           Water Rights-   This issue can be interpreted in different ways.  The 1921 document does not clearly state whose water is being delivered. The Cox Decree, which is 15 years later, does not show any record of water rights for the taps outside the city limits.  It is the tap owner’s responsibility to prove water rights.  However, the fact that we have provided water to these taps for nearly ninety years and have charged them the same as a in town user, we would be hard pressed to now say that we are not going to take care of these lines.  R.K. stated that years ago when he was on the council he had given an hourly rate to the city office to charge for leak repairs, however a bill was never sent, and no one ever followed up on this matter. 

            Surcharge Proposal Justification – After discussions with our city attorney the county attorney and representatives from Utah Rural Water it appears that the city will have to take ownership over these water lines because of past practices.  Since the city will be taking over these lines the city is also on fair ground to charge an accelerated rate for tap rights outside the city limit.   Johnny asked what the break down would be on what kind of monies this surcharge would generate. Currently on record we have 32 homes and 11 livestock which would bring in right around $9000.00.  If we went with a contractor which would have to hire an engineer it would cost in the neighborhood of $521,000 which would work out to be around $12,708 per tap.  If we look at just our crew putting in the line, which is not a complete true picture because we are not including the cost of their labor, would be approx. $32,920 which works out to be around $805 per tap.  These costs would be higher if we have to hire temporary help.

             Line Placement -   We would like to move the lines that are currently in the road to the side of road which will require getting an easement from the county.  Ideally the lines that are currently running through the middle of fields would be placed along the bottoms, so they are more accessible for maintenance, these would also require easements from property owners.   Gordon has mapped out a sketch plan of sizes of line for each so that in the event we need to fix a leak we can go in and replace a certain amount of line that is consistence with our replacement plan.                  

            Gordon will discuss and set with the city council tonight an information meeting.  The meeting will be conducted by the city council and the utility board will be there to answer questions and listen to tap owner’s suggestions.  A letter will be sent to all water tap users outside the city limits informing them of the meeting and a rough draft of the water departments’ proposal.  The city would like to form a partnership and be as fair as possible with all water users.

3.         Adjournment

A motion was made by Board Member Craig Mathie and Seconded by Board member Perry Payne to adjourn.  All were in favor.  Motion carried.     

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