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West Bountiful doubles fee for city's water users

WEST BOUNTIFUL — Sometimes city councils are left with less desirable options, like when a relatively new council votes to double the city's water rate.

It's not something the West Bountiful City Council wanted to do, says city administrator Craig Howe, but it was necessary.

The water rate of $30 a month will increase to $63 a month in April, and residents will likely see the change on their utility bills that arrive in May.

"It's a severe increase," Howe said. "What we are trying to do is get ahead of the curve."

The new revenue will be enough to help the city pay for a water bond, for which interest payments were falling short by $17,000 a month, Howe said.

Of the increase, $23 a month will be dedicated to new infrastructure projects.

But the council's Feb. 16 vote also included a provision that the $23 portion of the fee increase would be effective for four years. After that, a future council may reconsider whether it's necessary to keep that part of the increase, Howe said.

Over the next four years, the city will receive $2 million to be used for replacing aging water lines. The city has 50,000 feet of pipes that are between 35 and 60 years old, which means they are nearing the end of their use.

City staff had recommended that the council implement the fee during a 15-year period, which still may happen if the fee is extended after its four-year review.

"I don't know if we'll make 15 years without a major breakdown," Howe said.

Residents who attended a public hearing weren't happy with the fee proposal.

"Nobody really likes it, but they understand the situation," he said.

e-mail: jdougherty@desnews.com

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