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Ever wonder how the utility rates in your town compare with those of neighboring communities?

In a recent Bountiful City Council meeting, City Manager Tom Hardy said the city's $13.6 million in reserve funds have helped keep Bountiful's rates the lowest in the county."These reserve funds have been successful in stabilizing rates, charges and taxes," Hardy told the council. "We have lower water, sewer, electrical and garbage rates than any other city in Davis County."

Hardy's right about the low rates. But whether they have to do with the city's fiscal prowess is a matter for debate.

A Deseret News survey of nine Davis County cities found that while Bountiful's power, sewer and garbage rates are the lowest, the city's water rate is in the middle of the pack.

According to the survey - which totaled the average monthly residential cost of each utility - Bountiful is the cheapest place for a resident to purchase power, water, sewer service and garbage collection combined. Total average Bountiful utility bill: $47.80. (See chart for comparison)

Bountiful's lowest total utility cost ranking can largely be attributed to its low power rates.

The Bountiful Power Department purchases a large share of its electricity from the federally funded Colorado River Storage Project, so, in effect, Bountiful's low power rates are being subsidized by taxpayers from around the country, said Dave Eskelsen, spokesman for Utah Power & Light.

Bountiful charges 4.9 cents per kilowatt-hour, compared to an average 7.4 cents per kwh charged by UP&L, which provides power for all Davis communities except Bountiful and Kaysville.

Kaysville also purchases inexpensive power from federal power projects but charges 7.5 cents per kwh to generate revenue for the city's general fund.

Bountiful charges only $5 a month for garbage collection, more than $3 less than the other cities, because Bountiful hauls its rubbish to a nearby landfill rather than to the Energy Waste Recovery Facility (burn plant) near Hill Air Force Base.

Another quirk in utility rates involves the sewer charges, which vary from a low of $4.75 in Bountiful to a high of $9.75 in Kaysville.

Each of the nine cities surveyed belongs to one of three sewer districts, which finance their sewer collection and treatment systems using various combinations of property taxes and rate surcharges.


(Additional information)

Average monthly utility bills

Rank City Electricity* Water** Sewer Garbage Total***

1 Bountiful 29.40 $8.65 $4.75 $5.00 $47.80

2 W. Bountiful 44.40 5.42 5.00 8.75 63.57

3 Woods Cross 44.40 7.20 5.00 8.50 65.10

4 North S.L. 44.40 9.50 5.00 6.50 65.40

5 Layton 44.40 7.56 6.80 7.20 65.96

6 Clearfield 44.40 7.50 7.60 8.00 67.50

7 Farmington 44.40 9.90 7.50 9.00 70.80

8 Kaysville 45.00 10.00 9.75 9.00 73.75

9 Centerville 44.40 18.75 5.00 8.75 76.90

*Based on rate X600 KWH

**Based on rate X10,000 gallons

***Excluding tax