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Thu, May 23

Setting the record straight: Camp Verde wastewater fees not used for town operations

Mike Showers: “I understand the frustration many have with the quick increase in rates, however … we use wastewater fees for wastewater services, period, We do not use wastewater fees for town operations or water company purchases.”
VVN/Bill Helm

Mike Showers: “I understand the frustration many have with the quick increase in rates, however … we use wastewater fees for wastewater services, period, We do not use wastewater fees for town operations or water company purchases.” VVN/Bill Helm

CAMP VERDE – In May 2018, the Camp Verde council approved five years of wastewater rate increases to help pay for improvements to the wastewater facility.

On April 9-10, council will discuss the January 2020 rate it approved a year ago – as well as a recommended one-cent rate decrease.

Council approved a $3.01 per UPC discharge fixture unit as of Jan. 1, 2020. According to Finance Director Mike Showers, the town now recommends that rate to be set at $3 per fixture.

“We still have a number of customers who actually pay in cash, and the one cent can be a pain we found from the first increase,” Showers said. “I am proposing we clip the cent for payment ease.”

On Jan. 1, 2019, the town’s residential waste water user rates increased from $2.52 per unit to $2.90. According to Showers, residential rate increases over the five years would vary from a high of $6.80 in 2019 to a low of $1.09 in 2021.

But suggestions that the town has increased wastewater rates to afford a purchase of the Camp Verde Water System are wrong, Showers said.

“I understand the frustration many have with the quick increase in rates, however … we use wastewater fees for wastewater services, period,” Showers said. “We do not use wastewater fees for town operations or water company purchases.”

Camp Verde Town Manager Russ Martin said that should the town acquire the Camp Verde Water System, the purchase “would be from the current revenue stream of the business itself – as has been publicly discussed – without any revenue source the town has.”

“That is why getting it purchased for the right price is critical to not only avoid increases to purchase – against current state law – but to insulate from near future increases that will certainly be necessary at some point based on cost to run the business,” Martin said. “Any business generally, even in the case where the water company stays private that will eventually have to happen.”

During the April 9-10 budget work sessions, council will look at “total sewer revenues and will have the opportunity to consider any adjustments to the sewer fee schedule,” Showers said.

Any proposed reductions or caps “would have to be approved by WIFA,” Showers said.

WIFA stands for Water Infrastructure Finance Authority.

At 5:30 p.m. both April 9 and April 10, the Camp Verde Town Council will meet in council chambers, located at 473 S. Main St., Suite 106.

The town’s 2019 and proposed 2020 wastewater rate fees are at http://www.campverde.az.gov/government/town-clerk/documents/finance-documents/.

A copy of the agendas for the work sessions can be found at http://www.campverde.az.gov/government/town-clerk/agendas-minutes-actions/2019-town-council/.

-- Follow Bill Helm on Twitter @BillHelm42

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