DRAPER — Residents here will likely be asked to foot a $4.3 million bond for water infrastructure improvements but could also be forced to pay millions for capital improvements in the bankrupt SunCrest development.

Years ago, Terrabrook, the developer of the mountaintop community, agreed to build water infrastructure rather than paying the city impact fees on each new home. Now embroiled in bankruptcy proceedings, the Texas company is unable to follow through and the city is left holding an empty impact fees bag.

By the time SunCrest is built out, it will need 2.5 million gallons more water storage than the city had planned to provide, at a price tag of around $6.5 million. Pipelines valued at around $4.6 million will also be needed, but council members have said they want to hold out as long as possible for a new developer.

But even without addressing SunCrest-related water needs, Draper is being forced to raise water rates to pay for things such as a new tank on Traverse Ridge Road, a backup pump, electricity generators and piping. The water fund has no reserves for emergencies or maintenance, said Draper finance director Danyce Steck.

The increased rates could come in several forms. All customers could be asked to pay a flat $6.50 more per month. Alternatively, rates per gallon could increase by 12 percent in addition to the 9 percent hike being imposed by Draper's water provider, the Jordan Valley Water Conservancy District.

If SunCrest needs and other improvements were figured into the increase, all Draper customers could be charged a flat increase of $21 per month or rates per gallon could increase by 35 percent plus the district's 9 percent, Steck told the City Council during 2008-09 budget discussions.

Councilmen Jeff Stenquist and Bill Colbert have said they prefer charging a flat rate for only the $4.5 million in crucial needs. Councilwoman Stephanie Davis has also expressed strong disinterest in funding any of SunCrest's water needs.

The council will vote on the water bonding and 2008-2009 budget Tuesday evening during its regular council meeting at 1020 E. Pioneer Road. For a copy of the agenda, a tentative budget or to listen to audio of the budget discussions so far, visit draper.ut.us.


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