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PAYSON RAISES SEWER SERVICE HOOKUP FEES

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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.

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Additional Information

Budget PAYSON

General Fund: $2.28 million

1993-94

General Fund: $2.6 million

1994-95

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

Licenses/other: $671,200

Last year: $589,900

Fund transfers: $716,000

Last year: $500,000

Where it goes:

Police: $677,420

Last year: $581,020

Parks: $138,300

Last year: $127,000

Fire: $ 70,900

Last year: $ 59,500

Streets: $400,650

Last year: $414,000

Council and admin.:

$814,940

Last year: $685,100

Recreation: $ 81,300

Last year: $ 77,400

Tax/fee increases:

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.