Desert Messenger

September 04, 2013

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Always FREE! Wednesday, SEPT. 4, 2013 VOL. 10 #179 • "Quartzsite's FREE Community Paper" • 928-916-4235 N�� �� ��� 10h YEAR! Quartzsite Town Council approves sewer rate increase Bountiful Baskets A Qu��z�i�� Li��n�e� Bu���es� By Shanana Rain Golden-Bear Quartzsite, Arizona Quartzsite Town Council voted to increase wastewater fees and service charges during a Public Hearing on Friday, August 30, 2013. In June, the council directed staff to notify the public of the need to increase wastewater service fees to offset increases in the operating costs of the system, to repay the WIFA/USDA loans for the treatment plant upgrade and expansion and to assure the longterm financial stability of Quartzsite's wastewater system. Two Public hearings were held in August. Five members of council approved the resolution. Mayor Ed Foster voted against it. Kevin Murphy & Karyn Keese from Atkins Engineering explained to the council, and the public, at the August 13th Public Hearing that the current wastewater system is at full, or near full, capacity during the peak winter months. He explained ADEQ would not approve new construction/businesses unless the system was to expand. According to Murphy, the Town of Quartzsite was extremely luck to receive almost a 50% grant for the expansion project. According to documents, the base rate for single family residents will be $15.00 (for the first year.) Added to the base charge for all customer classes is a commodity charge based on the actual usage and estimated sewerage strength of the customer. There was much discussion at the first hearing about the Commodity Rate. Keese tried to reassure residents they won't be charged for water usage unless they actually use it, saying "You don't pay for the usages that you don't incur." However, Resolution NO. 13-06 clearly states, "The monthly minimum shall be the fee for single family residences should the Base Rate plus the Commodity Rate be less than the monthly minimum." According to Resolution 13-06 "The Single Family Monthly Minimum will be $23.02 [not $15.00]." The minimum monthly charge includes 5,000 gallons of sewage (charged at $1.50 per thousand gallons of water usage), whether or not it is actually used. Council agreed to review the rates annually, however the rates approved August 30th include annual increases for the next five years, beginning 2014-15 fiscal year (but will go into effect Oct. 1st, 2013). By 2018-19, the monthly Single Family Monthly Minimum rate is expected to be $27.03. Atkins performed a study of current rates and compared Quartzsite sewer rates to other small towns. Four strength categories have been established by this study. They are: residential users which include individually metered single family residential, mobile homes, deeded lots, and RV spaces; and three commercial strength categories: low, medium, and high. Low commercial users are all general commercial users that do not provide on-site food preparation that are serviced with a single water meter and churches. Medium commercial users are defined as a mixture of food preparation with other general commercial uses that are serviced with a single water meter. High strength commercial users are restaurants and other users with on-site food preparation that are serviced with a single water meter. The increase wastewater fees and service charges will be effective October 1, 2013. Town Manager Laura Bruno said the council will be looking at possibly increasing water rates in the near future. SEE SEWER RATES PAGE 21 coming to Quartzsite Bountiful Baskets is a non-profit food co-op for families who want to have more fresh produce for less money. Thanks to local volunteers, Bountiful Baskets will begin servicing Quartzsite on Saturday, September 14th at the Quartzsite Community Center located at 295 Chandler Rd. 3 4 5 6 7 10 14 SEE BASKETS PAGE 21 WHAT'S INSIDE Call to Crafters and Artists Preparedness Council Opening Editorial Letters to Editor Around Town Adventures with Rocks 15 17 18 19 20 22 22-23 23 Voices from Past In Memorium Churches Arrest Report Puzzles Paul Winer Comic Classifieds Artist Application

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