Provo water prices won’t increase

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    By Casi Herbst

    Water prices in Salt Lake City may rise this summer, but Provo”s will remain steady said Michael Mower, spokesman for Provo Mayor Lewis Billings.

    Prices look steady for now, however Merril Bingham, director of public works for Provo City, said they would be discussing rising water rates in the next few weeks. Bingham also mentioned the increase is something Provo probably will do.

    The proposed Salt Lake rise in water rates is aimed at fighting water waste.

    “This new rate structure will help people understand that water running down the drain is really money running down the drain,” said Salt Lake Mayor Rocky Anderson in a news release.

    BYU students will be affected differently if the water rates do rise.

    Those living in large apartment complexes will feel the least impact of rising rates.

    Dave Freeman, part owner of Riviera, Raintree, Glenwood, Cambridge and University Villa, said even if water prices did rise this summer, students would not feel it until September 2004. The owners have set rent rates and cannot change them in the middle of a contract.

    “Because rent”s already set, landlord”s have to eat the cost,” Freeman said.

    The bottom line is, water does not influence rent prices greatly. Freeman said insurance would affect rent prices more. Insurance has doubled in the last years from 20,000 to 40,000 a year.

    Water and sewer is included with rent, utilities in these apartments cover gas and electric. Rising water rates will not affect utilities. Freeman also said rent rates have dropped because of a lower number of students in the area and new housing being built by UVSC.

    Living in a condo might affect tenants” wallets more. Debbie Bishop, owner of Mountain View Condos, said there might be a slight increase in living costs. The rates would be low, perhaps only five dollars more. However, water rates would not influence the units she owns. Bishop said rent increases are usually due to large expenditures such as remodeling or new couches.

    BYU students living in houses would feel the greatest crunch. Mike Wahl, property manager for the Arch house, said utilities are passed onto the tenants. Whatever the rate increase is, it will be passed on.

    Provo City does urge residents to be wise with water usage. Residents can do this by not letting the hose continually run while washing a car, turning off water while brushing teeth and shaving, taking a shorter shower if possible and not watering the lawn from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., the hottest part of the day.

    A citizen advisory panel recommended Salt Lake Cities rate proposal. As prices now stand, there is a monthly minimum charge whether one uses the minimum 500 cubic feet of water or not. With the new plan, you are only charged for what you use. This encourages residents to use less water from the first gallon.

    Prices would then be assigned in three categories according to how much water used.

    Consumers using less than 900 cubic feet would pay 72 cents per 100 cubic feet (748 gallons.)

    Water would be $1.10 per 100 cubic feet for those using more than 900 cubic feet, but less than 2,900 cubic feet.

    Those using above 2,900 cubic feet would be charged $1.53 per cubic feet.

    The graduated water prices would only be in effect April-October, in the peak summer months.

    Industrial and Commercial consumers will also be charged in graduated amounts. However, consumers will be charged based upon their usage in the winter. If using 100 percent of the water used in winter, industrial consumers will be charged 72 cents per 100 cubic feet. If using 200 percent, they will be charged $1.10 per 100 cubic feet. If using 300 percent, they will be charged $1.53 per 100 cubic feet.

    Irrigation accounts will be set on a set water budget.

    Anderson hopes the rates take effect by June 1.

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