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Sat, Dec. 14

Camp Verde to reconsider municipal wastewater fees

Camp Verde Town Council members tour the town’s wastewater plant in 2017. Wednesday, council and town staff  will discuss a different way to charge its residential wastewater customers. VVN/Bill Helm

Camp Verde Town Council members tour the town’s wastewater plant in 2017. Wednesday, council and town staff will discuss a different way to charge its residential wastewater customers. VVN/Bill Helm

CAMP VERDE – In 2018, the Camp Verde Town Council approved wastewater fee increases through 2022.

Wednesday, council could tell town staff to find a different way to charge its wastewater customers.

Council will meet at 6:30 p.m. in council chambers, located at 473 S. Main St., Suite 106.

Rates changed in April 2018 when Camp Verde’s Town Council approved two wastewater loans. One of the loans, for $2.8 million, refinanced the 2007 loan when the Camp Verde Sanitary District issued bonds through the United States Department of Agriculture – Rural Development (USDA-RD) to pay for the expansion of its wastewater treatment plant and collection lines.

The second loan, for $3.5 million, was a new loan, which included a $1 million grant Camp Verde received.

To afford the cost of the facility’s improvements, council approved wastewater rate increases beginning April 2018 and each January beginning in 2019.

But council directed town staff before it passed the 2019-2020 budget to consider a possible change in the rate structure, a change that could go into effect prior to the scheduled January 2020 rate increase.

Monday, Town Manager Russ Martin said it’s possible that the projected rate increases the next three years could be decreased.

According to council’s Nov. 20 agenda packet, the town’s monthly wastewater income is greater “than the average cost.”

“This including the significant current income coming from septage fees puts the finances in a good position, month to month,” the agenda packet explained.

But Martin also said that there’s “no guarantee in the revenue coming from septage fees.”

“”That’s the hardest part, relying on those long term,” Martin said. “It is a fairly significant impact in revenue, positively, that affects the operational and capital needs.”

Council’s Nov. 20 agenda, which includes a breakdown of wastewater rates and the 2018 wastewater study, can be found at campverde.az.gov.

According to the agenda packet, Camp Verde’s 1,137 residential wastewater customers pay an average of $48.65 per month, which means that Camp Verde receives $55,318 each month in those fees.

What do Camp Verde residential wastewater customers pay now?

Camp Verde’s residential wastewater customers pay fees based on the amount of discharge units in their home.

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

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.

So, 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.

Before April 1, 2018, Camp Verde did not charge its residences more than $50 in a month for waste water service, even if it cost the town more than $50 to provide the service.

Before April 2018, Camp Verde charged $2.25 per discharge unit to its residential customers.

As of January 2019, the Town of Camp Verde has charged $2.90 per discharge unit. As of January 2020, Camp Verde is scheduled to charge $3.01 per unit. The home that costs $55.10 today is scheduled to cost $57.19 as of January.

-- Follow Bill Helm on Twitter @BillHelm42

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