City officials waited less than a month before revising Payson's water-connection and service charges for its upcoming pressurized irrigation system.

On Feb. 20, the City Council passed service and connection fees for the system based on the assumption that city users would have 1-inch piping installed. However, the new rates, established in the March 5 council meeting, will allow for hookups of 1-inch, 1 1/2-inch and 2-inch piping as well as lower service charges for users who have 1-inch line installed.Although the council revised the resolution, it will take time during its March 20 meeting to hold a public informational hearing on the changes.

City Administrator Glen Vernon said that council members expressed some concern that the earlier resolution was too vague and that modifications could be made to simplify and lower the rates.

"In effect, (the new resolution) simplifies and substantially lowers the fees and annual service charges that were reflected in the earlier resolution," Vernon said.

"It also provides an exemption for properties having little or no irrigable land and exempts undeveloped lots and parcels from connection fees and annual service charges until they are developed."

Also, according to the resolution, all other residential or commercial units are required to connect with the system, which will take the place of the city's current culinary and flood-type irrigation systems.

Though the pressurized system will not be in service for at least six more months, city officials were required to formulate estimated connection and service charge fees in order to comply with guidelines established by the State Board of Water Resources.

That board has given the city a $3.6 million low-interest loan to defray the costs of construction and engineering for the system, which residents overwhelmingly approved during last year's primary elections.

Connection fees will be due when service becomes available and may be paid either in full or in 12 equal monthly payments. Connection fees for new construction will be due with a building permit fee. Service charges are due at the beginning of the service year (April 1) and may also be paid in full or in 12 installments.

Additional costs for residents will come from irrigation and culinary rate revisions. Current annual irrigation bills for most residents average between $20 to $30. Current culinary charges include a $5 base rate, plus a 50-cent charge per 10,000 gallons used, and most residents' monthly bills average between $7 and $8.

Rate revisions would keep the culinary base rate the same but would approximately double the usage rate over the 10,000-gallon minimum. Vernon estimates the combined monthly bills could be between $17 and $18 ($10 for culinary usage and from $7 to $8 monthly for irrigation usage, both of which would be unrestricted for times and amounts available for use).


(Additional information)

Revised charges

- Water connections: $120 for 1-inch piping; $270 for a 1 1/2-inch line; $480 for a 2-inch line.

- Service charges (annual): 1-inch line - $96 for lots of one-half acre or less; $132 for one-half to three-quarter-acre lots; $168 for three-quarters to one-acre lots; $60, plus $27 per quarter-acre, for lots larger than one acre.

1 1/2-inch line - $135, plus $27 per quarter-acre of land.

2-inch line - $240, plus $27 per quarter-acre of land.