Stagecoach to see bigger water bills

— The Morrison Creek Metropolitan Water & Sanitation District will bill customers on a tiered block rate instead of a base rate.

Morrison Creek Metropolitan Water & Sanitation District Board President Ken DePaul said the water board decided last week to implement the new rates as a way to bring in more money from customers to continue improving the water plant and maintaining service.

"We've been seeing quite a bit of growth (in Stagecoach) in the last two years, more than anyone ever anticipated," DePaul said.

Because of concerns about growth, DePaul and water board members Ken Burgess, Steven Colby, Donald Alperti, Suzie Hawkins and Tom Sharp began looking at the district's finances about a year ago. The group decided it would need to increase water rates to continue providing service and maintaining plant equipment.

DePaul said the district used to charge its customers a base rate of $108 a quarter, which broke down to $54 for water service and $54 for sewage.

Now, DePaul said water will be charged quarterly on a tiered block rate based on how much water a single residence or business uses per quarter.

The new rates were established after the board began reading the water meters that recently were installed in Stagecoach homes.

After that, DePaul said the board was able to determine how much water each residence used and set up a water rate scheduled based on the water meter readings.

Beginning in April, customers who use zero to 15,000 gallons of water will be charged $1 per 1,000 gallons; customers who use between 15,000 and 30,000 gallons of water will be charged $2 per 1,000 gallons; customers who use between 30,000 and 60,000 gallons of water will be charged $5 per 1,000 gallons; and customers who use between 60,000 and more than 100,000 gallons of water will be charged $7 per 1,000 gallons.

DePaul also said the board decided to increase the vault rates it charges customers from 1 cent to 2 1/2 cents per gallon as a way to supplement the additional strain put on the plant by additional use.

"This is something historic being done by this district. It's not like we're trying to make a profit off it. We want people to see the rate changes as us trying to conserve water," he said.

DePaul said he is encouraging people to look at their water use, especially with the rate increases, primarily to conserve water, a resource DePaul is concerned might wane as Stagecoach continues to grow.

"We have an ample water supply right now. However, the key word is conservation. We need the community to be aware that water is a precious commodity," he said.

DePaul thinks the district will begin facing additional pressures when more subdivisions want to come online with the water district.

"The whole reason behind the changes is trying to meet the challenges we are going to face. We had to start putting in some new systems," he said.

DePaul encourages any customer concerned about the rate changes to contact him or the water district at 736-8250.

-- To reach Alexis DeLaCruz, call 871-4234 or e-mail adelacruz@steamboatpilot.com

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