Water rates to go up 5% in Apache Junction district

Apache Junction Mayor Jeff Serdy and council members Christa Rizzi and Robert Schroeder at a recent City Council meeting. The Apache Junction Water Utilities Community Facilities District board is made up of members of the Apache Junction City Council. (Arianna Grainey, Independent Newsmedia)

The base rate for customers of the Apache Junction Water District is slated to increase 5%, according to the proposed 2019-20 budget. A public hearing on next fiscal year’s $22,381,596 budget is 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 18, in the council chambers, 300 E. Superstition Blvd.

Customers outside the city limits, who are in unincorporated Pinal County or in county islands, are also to have a 5% increase in consumption rates, according to water district records.

Frank L. Blanco

The rate increases are needed in part to meet delivery and capital charges for Central Arizona Project water. Delivery charges are $155 per acre-foot and capital costs are $48 per acre-foot, Frank Blanco, water district director, said at the May 21 meeting of the Apache Junction Water District Utilities Community Facilities District board.

“Of course, the goal is to make sure that our rates are structured such that they do recover the full cost of the water and in the case of the CAP capital charges, it was not happening. They were not structured that way,” Mr. Blanco said.

Mike Loggins, Apache Junction Water Utilities Community Facilities District engineer, at a water festival. (Richard H. Dyer, Independent Newsmedia)

The base water rate of $23.53 is to be increased to $24.71 for residents of Apache Junction, District Superintendent Mike Loggins said May 21.

“People who live within the city limits, the base rate would be increased by 5%; no change to the consumption rate — that’s the cost per 1,000 (gallons); and no change in our (consumption) tiers that we currently have,” he said.

The base rate for outside the city limits with a 5/8th-inch meter is $24.24 and will be increased to $25.45, according to district documents.

“In the county, or county island, we’re proposing a base change of 5%, a consumption rate (increase) of 5%, but no change in the (consumption) tiers also,” Mr. Loggins said.

The consumption rate for a city resident with a 5/8th-inch meter and using an average 7,500 gallons a month is $34.70. The consumption rate for the same meter for those outside the city limits is $37.56 and is to be increased to $39.45, according to district documents.

Residential-system connection fees are increasing 2.5% for new customers, from $4,490 for single-family homes to $4,580; $4,320 for multi-family to $4,410; and from $4,490 for manufactured home/RV spaces to $4,580, according to district documents.

The money from connection fees helps the district keep up with new development.

“This does not affect any of our existing customers. This is for future growth here in Apache Junction, so any developments that we had coming in, and this is just the construction price index that we’re increasing by 2.5%; so that we can keep up with the cost of construction out there so when we’re installing new water mains or building new pump stations and new tanks, we have those funds available when we need to build those,” Mr. Loggins told the water district board.

There also is an increase for the use of the potable water station at 725 E. Baseline Road, and at the non-potable water station at Baseline Avenue and the CAP canal, both changing from a base rate of $13.50 to $20.25. The change is needed to get the rate closer to the residential-water base rate, Mr. Loggins said.

2019-20 budget

The water district is proposing a 2019-20 budget of $22,381,596, up from last year’s approved $21,293,973 budget, according to district records.

Estimated costs for 2019-20 include $2,113,920 for administration and $3,292,720 for system operations.

Capital projects planned by the water district include:

  • $150,000 to install additional sludge tanks at the Superstition Area Water Plant, Ironwood Drive just south of Baseline Road.
  • $350,000 to replace the coating and install cathodic protection in the one-million-gallon tank at booster No. 1, 16th Avenue and Buena Vista.
  • $80,000 to replace two F-250 trucks and service bodies for the operations staff.

The budget also includes:

  • $50,000 to design a raw-water impound at the Superstition Area Water Plant to hold about a day’s amount of water from the CAP canal for a back-up supply.
  • $50,000 for a site study for a proposed Superstition Area Recharge Project.

Meetings of the Apache Junction Water Utilities Community Facilities District, made up of members of the Apache Junction City Council, are held 6 p.m. the third Tuesday of the month or as needed in the council chambers, 300 E. Superstition Blvd.

Editor Richard Dyer can be reached at rdyer@newszap.com

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