Fruita can make fees less odiferous

The Fruita City Council Tuesday took a welcome step back from a proposed sewer-fee increase that it was considering, allowing more time for the council to examine a half-dozen fee options and hear more from local businesses.

There’s no question Fruita folks are going to be paying more for sewer service, even though they’ve already seen significant increases in sewer fees over the past few years. The city is under a federal mandate to build a new sewer plant, and annual operational costs of that plant must be borne by users.

A fee structure that charges businesses based on how much sewage waste they contribute to the system is sensible, up to a point.

That point comes when the new fees threaten to drive commercial interests out of business. One owner of a car wash told city officials his annual sewer bill would more than triple under the option the city was considering, from just over $7,000 annually to more than $25,000 a year. Others have said that proposed fee structure could force them out of business.

Fees that end up closing businesses ill serve the city and its residents. There would be less overall tax revenue for the municipality, fewer choices for residents and every other business and homeowner would have to pay more in sewer rates to cover the revenue lost.

Several of the fee options being examined by the city don’t place as heavy a burden on those businesses whose very existence depends on substantial water consumption and sewage disposal. Those options should be given high priority by the City Council.


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