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Layton may see funds dry to trickle

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This year's unusually wet and cool spring will definitely have some effect on water fund revenues for the city of Layton later this summer because residents used far less water on lawns than usual.

"I'm sure it will have some impact," Layton finance director Steve Ashby said.However, he said, it's too early to tell, and officials will have to wait to see what the rest of the outdoor watering months bring.

Even in a worst-case situation where the city could lose more than $100,000 in water revenues, Ashby isn't overly worried.

He said cities are required to have "rainy day" reserve funds that help keep them out of any short-term financial difficulty despite such revenue down-turns.

Layton pumps a considerable amount of water from wells. Most other area cities purchase most of their water from outside sources, such as from the Weber Basin Water Conservancy District.

This means Layton is probably more vulnerable to water revenue fluctuations than other area cities. Layton's new 1998-99 budget, which begins July 1 and will include any revenue losses from reduced watering in May and June, includes $2.9 million in sales of water to more than 18,000 households and businesses.

Many residents watered their lawns only a few times during the past two months and may see a reduction of some $30-$40 in the water bill that comes due in July and includes the months of May and June.

Ashby said only half of the city's water customers will be billed in July. The rest of the city will be billed in August for water used in June and July.

He also said about one-third of the city has secondary water and the rain would have little effect on city water revenues. In addition, the city would have some cost savings from having to use less electricity to pump water out of the ground.

Ashby said Layton's total revenue comes from a variety of sources. Water revenues equal only 8 percent of the total.