The rapid residential growth that has occurred in other parts of Utah County has caught up with Payson, and City Council members raised some hookup and utility usage fees to help balance next year's budget.
The Payson City Council voted Wednesday to double sewer hookup fees and raise culinary water usage fees to ensure that the city will be able to make improvements necessary in both those services. At the same time, council members also passed the city's fiscal year 1995 budget.Increasing the sewer hookup fees to $1,500, effective July 15, will put Payson at the upper end of the scale for such fees in the county, along with Spanish Fork.
Council members also voted to keep the culinary water usage base rate at $10, but eliminated the minimum usage amount of 10,000 gallons and decided they will now charge 55 cents per each 1,000 gallons used.
The latter move will raise residential culinary water bills nearly $20 per year and business bills about $300 annually. Along with helping pay for long-needed system improvements, the fee should discourage residents or businesses from using culinary water for irrigation, City Administrator Keith Morey said.
Councilwoman Kay Furniss opposed the culinary water increase, saying it penalizes every resident rather than heavy users. She supported another option that would have retained a minimum usage requirement while increasing average rates for those who use more than 5,000 gallons per month.
Furniss also questioned the city's heavy reliance on transfers from three enterprise fund departments - $716,000 will come from the electrical, water and solid waste departments - to balance Payson's general fund.
Morey said the transfers are necessary to increase services in several general fund departments.
In addition to the sewer and culinary water improvements, the city is planning to expand hours of operation at the library and add another full-time patrol officer to the police department. City leaders also hired Paul Blanchard as the new full-time director of economic development.
Despite the tight budgeting, city leaders said they're pleased that they've managed to turn Payson's finances around. Payson's audited fiscal year 1991 budget revealed that the city spent $300,000 more than it collected during that year.
However, after bond refinancing approved in a bond election last spring, the city was able to create a one-time surplus and begin a surplus account - much like Spanish Fork's "rainy-day" fund that allows that city to finance many major improvements on a "pay-as-you-go" basis.
General Fund: $2.28 million
General Fund: $2.6 million
Where it comes from:
Property tax: $495,835
Last year: $477,000
Sales tax: $720,000
Last year: $700,000
Franchise tax: $ 12,000
Last year: $ 12,000
Last year: $589,900
Fund transfers: $716,000
Last year: $500,000
Where it goes:
Last year: $581,020
Last year: $127,000
Fire: $ 70,900
Last year: $ 59,500
Last year: $414,000
Council and admin.:
Last year: $685,100
Recreation: $ 81,300
Last year: $ 77,400
Sewer hookups increased from $750 to $1,500. Culinary water fee increased to 55 cents per 1,000 gallons of water used, in addition to a $10 base rate with no minimum usage.