Washington City approves higher sewer rate due to St. George treatment plant expansion

Stock image | Photo by Djedzura/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

WASHINGTON CITY – Washington City residents will see part of their sewer rates increase next month due to a rate hike originating in St. George.

St. George officials recently approved a $25 million construction contract for the expansion of its wastewater treatment plant. To help cover part of that cost, as well as the cost of maintenance for the city’s overall sewer infrastructure, the St. George City Council voted last month to increase sewer fees by 45 percent.

Paul Ford separates solid waste at the St. George Wastewater Treatment Facility, St. George, Utah, February 2015 | File photo by Sheldon Demke, St. George News

As the city’s wastewater treatment plant is also used by Washington City and other neighboring municipalities, St. George is passing along a monthly $2.12 rate increase.

Read more: Keeping toilets flushing: Sewer rates to go up 45 percent in St. George next month

“This is on the (sewage) treatment only,” Mike Shaw, Washington City’s public works director, told the City Council during its meeting Wednesday evening.

The additional $2.12 will raise the city’s sewer treatment charge from $7.50 to $9.62. City residents also pay an additional $10.22 for sewer collection.

This will raise the city’s overall monthly sewer fees from $17.72 to $19.84 for many residents. Those who live in developments where the sewer system requires a lift station pay an additional $6.27.

Among the council members who weren’t very pleased with the increase was Kolene Granger, who asked Shaw if he felt Washington City was being treated fairly in this instance. Shaw replied he believed it was since the rate is being applied equally to other cities that use the treatment plant.

“This is a pass-on rate,” said City Manager Roger Carter, who stressed that the increase in the sewer treatment fee was in response to St. George raising the cost of using its wastewater treatment plant.

The rate increase is one that can’t be absorbed by the city, both Shaw and Carter said, so the cost was passed on to the city’s water users.

Carter compared the action to cities that raise property taxes to cover the cost of laws and programs passed by the state Legislature that leaves it to local governments to fund.

I don’t like to raise rates – ever,” Granger said.

Despite some reservations, the City Council voted to approve the rate increase.

The increased rate will take effect in August, Shaw said.

The City Council also held a public hearing for a zone change request for the second phase of the Sunwood Homes at Bella Vista development located in the area of 900 East and 200 North just off Bella Vista Drive and covering 35 acres.

The developer requested a change that would allow for six multifamily structures, 46 single-family homes and a short-term rental overlay for the majority of the project.

Read more: ‘Short-term rental city’: Santa Clara City Council debates future of vacation homes in city

Residents of neighboring subdivisions spoke against the development. Most of the comments revolved around opposition to the proposed short-term rental overlay and claims that the overall project would negatively impact the character of the neighborhood.

We don’t need more (short-term rentals),” one Bella Vista resident said. “We have too much in Washington already.”

The city’s Planning Commission had approved the development with the exception of the multifamily homes and short-term rental overall.

The City Council will vote on the requested zone change at its next meeting in two weeks.

Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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2 Comments

  • Pauly D wanna cracker July 12, 2018 at 5:48 pm

    Man crap is getting expensive… literally

  • cv_t-bird July 15, 2018 at 10:17 pm

    While it’s only a $2 hike (this time), the problem is it adds up! This isn’t a product or service the residents have a choice in paying, so its forced down our throats without a chance to do anything about it. This is just another in a long list of things that get passed as a “small amount”, and we’re just supposed to deal with it? When is enough?

    If the need for this waste station is due to the growth, isn’t that what all the impact fees are supposed to be paying for? Where does all that money go, they keep raising the fees every year and it’s no small amount by any means. Those that cause the problem and need should be the ones paying for it. If the local cities want to keep lining their pockets with growth and tourism, they need to start investing that money back into the community and quit ripping off the current residents just to line the developers pockets that cause all this mess.

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