Cottonwood gears for water rate rise

The proposed Cottonwood rates for water are higher (in the case of Clemenceau, significantly higher) than current rated for newly acquired companies.

There are at least $3.5 million worth of capital improvements outlined for the systems within the next three years.

The city's rates also have to take into account operation, debt service and money to find new water resources.

The Cottonwood City Council will meet Tuesday at 6 p.m. for a presentation on the proposed rates and a public hearing. The council could make a decision then on whether or not to adopt the rates.

"They don't have to adopt these rates," said City Manager Brian Mickelsen. "They have to structure rates so they can operate the system and pay back the bonds."

An independent consulting company put together a study to determine the proposed rates. Those rates have been on the city's Web site and available at city hall for some time.

According to the data that will be presented Tuesday, an average household could expect to pay $43.10 a month for 10,000 gallons of water under the city's proposed rates.

That same household would currently pay $37.10 a month from the Cordes Lakes water company, $27.25 a month from Clemenceau or $30.75 a month with Verde Santa Fe.

The city's new rate structure also encourages conservation.

For a 5/8-inch' meter, customers will pay a $17 flat monthly fee, which includes the first 1,000 gallons of water.

Every 1,000 gallons after that up until 10,000 costs $2.90 a month. After 10,000 gallons, the price goes up.

Mickelsen said that tiered rate structure isn't currently being used by any of the local water companies, but is common for municipally owned utilities.

If the rates are approved Tuesday, the city will then have the authority to start marketing the revenue bonds that will finance the purchase of the water companies.

In an interview earlier this month, Assistant City Manager Robert Hardy said Cottonwood could take possession of the three water companies the week of Aug. 16.

The public hearing is scheduled to take place Tuesday at 6 p.m. in the Cottonwood Public Safety Building, 191 S. Sixth St.


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