Clifton bumping water rates; Ute Water hike may follow


Water rates around Grand Valley in 2012

• Clifton Water District is raising its minimum monthly rate Jan. 1 from $12 to $14.50 for up to 3,000 gallons.

Ute Water Conservancy District is considering a boost in the minimum monthly rate from $13 to $15 for up to 3,000 gallons.

• The city of Grand Junction is contemplating no change in its $9 minimum monthly rate for up to 3,000 gallons.

The town of Palisade is seeking no increase in its $40.10 base rate for up to 8,000 gallons.

That tall swig of clear, Grand Valley water is going to cost a bit more for most consumers in 2012 than it does this year.

Clifton Water District raised its rates effective Jan. 1, and the Ute Water Conservancy District, by far the Grand Valley’s largest water supplier, is preparing for an increase in its minimum monthly charge, most likely in February.

The average Clifton Water District customer will see an approximately 14 percent increase in the monthly water bill as the district deals with a ballooning bond payment while also seeing revenues slip as a result of an ebbing economy.

Ute Water’s directors next week will consider increasing the minimum monthly rate to $15 from $13, but no other increases are anticipated, Ute spokesman Joe Burtard said. If the minimum charge is approved, it will go into effect Feb. 1. Ute serves a population of about 85,000 people.

Grand Junction, which serves a population of about 27,000, is anticipating no 2012 increase.

Residents of Palisade will see no increase in their $40.10 base rate for up to 8,000 gallons, but the town board is to consider a proposed 9 percent increase in the tiered rates above the base.

At the Clifton Water District, the board approved the rate increase after cutting its proposed operating budget by 6 percent, or $219,000, district officials said.

Bond payments are a major driver of the increase, and Clifton Water’s manager, Dale Tooker, noted bond payments will go up about $300,000 in 2012, more than double what the district paid in previous years.

The board put off the increase as long as it could, “looking for some kind of turnaround” in the local economy, “but it hasn’t happened,” Tooker said.

Clifton Water, meanwhile, is experiencing increases in the basic costs of doing business while suffering a loss of revenue of about $40,000 a year, stemming from decreased water sales from now-empty houses, Tooker said.

Foreclosed and vacant homes have taken a toll on Ute Water’s revenues, but Burtard said the reduced revenue wasn’t a factor in the proposed rate increase.

Clifton and Ute rely on water rates to fund operations.

Clifton, which serves a population of about 40,000 people, will boost its minimum monthly bill to $14.50 from the current $12 for 3,000 gallons or less.

Customers using 3,001 to 10,000 gallons will see rates per 1,000 gallons rise to $2.25 from $2.15.

Water usage of 10,001 to 18,000 gallons will increase from $2.60 per 1,000 gallons from $2.45.

Residential water use of more than 18,000 gallons will be charged at a $3.50-per-1,000-gallon rate.

For the average Clifton customer, defined as using 7,000 gallons a month, the monthly bill will go from $20.60 to $23.50.


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