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South Salt Lake Journal

City Council approves a sewer fee increase

Mar 02, 2020 01:54PM ● By Bill Hardesty

A $2 sewer fee increase approved by the South Salt Lake City Council. (Bill Hardesty/City Journals)

By Bill Hardesty | [email protected]

After more than a year of discussion, the South Salt Lake City Council approved a $2 per 1,000 gallons of winter water use fee increase at their meeting on Feb. 12. It takes effect on July 1.

This affects SSL residents north of Millcreek.

History and the why

In 2017, Central Valley Water Reclamation Facility (CVWRF) embarked on a multi-year repair and improve project. These changes at CVWRF are the result of new federal and state regulations. The cost of these changes is estimated at $180 million.

SSL is a part member of the CVWRF, and the city’s part of the price tag is estimated at $11,248,000. SSL is paying this by getting a zero-percentage loan from the State Division of Water Quality (DWQ) for $9,248,000. The city was also awarded a hardship grant for $2 million. 

One stipulation for the loan is that SSL must show they can pay the annual payment of $463,000. In addition, DWQ requires the funding for the payment needs to be at 1.25% of the loan amount. This requires about $580,000 in new revenue.

The new sewer fee will generate around $630,000 to $640,000, which allows some wiggle room if needed.

“We must show that we have sufficient funds to pay for the financing,” Kyle Kershaw, the director of finance, said.

The bonds are scheduled to close by the end of February.

Impacts 

“None of us want to do this,” Council Chair Sharla Bynum said. 

Council member Natalie Pinkney asked Kershaw the average water use. He estimated for a family it is about 4,000 to 5,000 gallons a month. This means for most families the sewer increase will be $8 to $10 a month.

Kershaw mentioned that users of the city water system do pay higher fees than most because the costs are spread across a smaller number of users.

Bynum mentioned that at a recent CVWRF board meeting, it was reported that the two lowest bids came in 28% higher than the original bid. This is due to the robust economy, making prices rise. The result is that more sewer fee increases are planned in fiscal year 2024 and fiscal year 2027 to pay for these increased costs.

Other council actions

With a 6-0 vote (Councilmember Shane Siwik was not in attendance) the council approved a resolution supporting H.J.R. 7 joint resolution ratifying the ERA.

In their resolution, the council wrote, “the South Salt Lake City Council endeavors to promote equality and affirm the value of women;…and the South Salt Lake City Council believes that supporting the proposed ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment of the Constitution of the United States is a significant and appropriate means of promoting equality on account of sex.”

They also gave approval for the SSLPD to apply for a COPS (Community Oriented Policing Services) Hiring Program (CHP) grant from the Department of Justice. If approved, this grant will pay for up to six new officers.

The grant is structured that for years one through three, the grant pays 75% of salaries and benefits for the new officers. The city picks up the rest. In year four and beyond, the city is responsible for all the salaries and benefits. 

SSLPD is seeking the grant to follow the “Rule of 60” promoted by the International City/County Management Association (ICMA). Part of the rule indicates that 60% of uniformed officers should be assigned to patrol. SSLPD is below the percentage. Another part of the rule is that patrol officer should spend less than 60% of their time in reactive mode compared to community policing.


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