The Carson City Public Works department will bring options for new storm water fees to the Board of Supervisors at its July 6 meeting.
In March, the Utility Finance Oversight Committee voted to recommend a series of rate hikes to the board based on staff recommendations. In May, the supervisors declined to vote on them and instead directed staff to look into conducting a rate study to determine new fees.
Rates for water and sewer were increased in 2013 in a five-year, phase-in plan while storm water fees were left alone at the time.
Connection fees went up last year and are going up again July 1, David Bruketta, utility manager, told the utility committee at its quarterly meeting on Tuesday.
The bump in fees and a surge in building permits pushed up revenue on the fees charged for new connections to the system.
For the sewer fund, connection fee revenue almost quadrupled, from $60,407 in 2016 to $228,473 to date in 2017.
The department also should have a new sewer system master plan completed by the end of the summer, said Bruketta.
The city has been dealing with flooding and increased inflows due to the historic winter storms that caused millions of dollars in damages.
The city is working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency for 75 percent reimbursement of costs associated with the flooding, but it’s a years-long process, said Bruketta.
Committee members Michael Bennett and Bruce Scott both brought up concerns about limited capital improvements to the system.
“If we had comprehensive infiltration inflow years ago we wouldn’t be dealing with the peaks we’re having now,” said Scott.
Bennett suggested making a list of projects outside the ones funded to demonstrate the city’s real needs.
“I recognize why you don’t do it, it’s not standard practice to budget what you can’t afford,” said Bennett. “By being prudent we’re doing a disservice. I’m not sure how to do it, but we need to it get out in the public realm.”
Discussion of a wish list of projects and the committee’s role in the capital improvement process were suggested for the next meeting agenda as well as an item on helping people pay their utility bills.
“I found we have code on the books but they’re not being utilized so that’s one thing I’d like to see on the agenda,” said Ande Engleman, the committee chair.
The Utility Finance Oversight Committee’s next meeting is Sept. 19, 1 p.m., in the Sierra Room, Carson City Community Center, 851 E. William St.