Plans are under way for a new secondary water system, and the City Council is studying a privatization agreement.
Alex Jensen, city manager, said details of the system plan will be worked out along the way."It's been an issue we've debated a lot. We feel comfortable that this is the best solution for long-term water need," he said.
Mayor Jerry Stevenson said that without such a pressurized irrigation system, which would be provided by the Davis and Weber Canal Co., the city is going to have to go elsewhere for water, and it would likely cost more.
"We're going to see some increases regardless," Stevenson said of Layton's future water costs.
The current debate among the council members concerns mandatory hookup by all residents within reach of the system.
Canal officials say they need at least 95 percent of all homes to hook up, or they'll have to raise user fees to compensate for their expenses. For example, the owner of a 10,000-square-foot lot would pay $275 to hook onto the system, plus a monthly user fee of $15.
Lyndia Graham, council member, said she doesn't support mandatory hookup, especially for older subdivisions.
"They should have a chance to say yes or no," she said.
She wants the city to look at a special water impact fee that would make new growth pay for the water shortage it causes.
Stuart Adams, another council member and homebuilder by profession, said he doesn't support such an impact fee because first-time homebuyers would be hardest hit.
"We're pricing them out of the market," Adams said.
Other cities where the canal company has installed secondary water systems did require mandatory connections. Council member Ethel Adams said the council needs to take a stand. She said residents have no choice whether to connect to some other utilities, such as sewer lines, when such services are extended to their neighborhoods.
Jensen said the struggle to find a formula for what constitutes mandatory connection is a form of social engineering. How high access fees should be set is still another controversy.
Because of new growth, Layton will run out of water by the year 2000 if no action is taken. A secondary system would lessen the demand for culinary water and probably even keep drinking water prices low.
Canal company officials have been invited back for another work meeting with the City Council.