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Sun, Dec. 08

Camp Verde considers freeze on sewer rates

Camp Verde Town Manager Russ Martin tells council at its Nov. 20 meeting why it could afford to freeze wastewater fee increases scheduled for January 2020. Wednesday, council is expected to suspend scheduled wastewater fee increases through June 30, 2022. VVN/Bill Helm

Camp Verde Town Manager Russ Martin tells council at its Nov. 20 meeting why it could afford to freeze wastewater fee increases scheduled for January 2020. Wednesday, council is expected to suspend scheduled wastewater fee increases through June 30, 2022. VVN/Bill Helm

CAMP VERDE – Two weeks ago, Camp Verde’s town council told Russ Martin to bring them a wastewater fee structure that eliminates rate increases through June 30, 2022.

Wednesday, council is expected to approve the town manager’s resolution that freezes sanitary district rates through FY 2022. Council will meet at 6:30 p.m. in council chambers, located at 473 S. Main St., Suite 106.

Camp Verde’s sanitary district customers will continue to pay $2.90 per month for each discharge unit in their home, with no customer’s bill to exceed $75 in a month.

Although council spent close to two hours discussing options including a cap, charging any customers more than $75 “seemed beyond what was necessary at this time to charge going forward without compromising the revenue necessary at this time to operate the system,” council’s Dec. 4 agenda packet stated.

Two factors led to council’s Nov. 20 direction to Martin, he told council on Nov. 20. More customers, and septage fees that have netted the town more than $300K.

Martin also said that the town anticipated neither factor when it paid for a rate study before council approved wastewater rate increases in March 2018.

The cap, according to Resolution 2019-1032, will be in effect as of Jan. 1, 2020.

Discharge units are rated based on what the fixture puts into the system, and what the system takes to break down the discharge. They are not rated based on the quantity of water they use.

A single bathroom sink is rated as a 1. But a kitchen sink, laundry tub, washing machine, shower, bathtub or double bathroom sink are rated a 2.

A floor drain, such as a drain in a garage, is rated a 3. A toilet, 4 points.

A home with a kitchen sink, washing machine, two toilets, two bath tubs, a double sink in one bathroom and a single sink in the other bathroom is rated 19 discharge units.

That home, no matter how many people live in it, would pay $55.10 each month to the Camp Verde Wasterwater Division.

Resolution 2019-1032 also includes a temporary disconnect monthly rate discount that is 25% of the customer’s current monthly rate, to a minimum of $25. If current rate is less than $25, then no discount would apply and full fee would be due monthly.

According to council’s agenda packet, the temporary disconnect rate was determined “based on a percentage of the monthly [fees] as significant revenue disruption could occur if the fee was substantially different and the system is still too small to not have a reasonable revenue stream to operate with during the time of reconstruction.”

Martin said Monday that by the time Camp Verde reconsiders its wastewater fees, “hopefully we will have a different way of looking at it, either when it’s necessary or when there are other formulas for consideration based on water usage or actual usage.”

“It’s important that people feel comfortable that it should stay this way for the time being,” Martin said.

Council’s Dec. 4 agenda, which includes Resolution 2019-1032, can be found at campverde.az.gov.

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