AMMON — Residential water metering is coming, and the Ammon City Council wants public input on proposed rates.
The council is holding a public hearing on Jan. 17 at 7 p.m. to discuss the proposal.
This isn’t a new concept for the city. Ammon has been installing water meters in homes for years to prepare for the eventual metering. Those meters aren’t being used for residential customers yet but commercial buildings in Ammon have been using metered water already.
During the hearing, residents will get to address the rates, including the proposed increase in flat rates for the 30 percent of homes still without meters.
“We want to make it a time for the public to come and talk about the plans for water meters. I think the council and the rest of the city want to hear out the residents and listen to what they have to say,” Ammon Mayor Sean Coletti told EastIdahoNews.com.
The city’s proposed meter rate is a $30 base fee plus $1 for every 1,000 gallons used.
According to the city, the average household in Ammon uses 7,000 gallons per month during winter months, which is the lowest usage during a year period.
With the proposed meter rate, the average household would pay $37 per month during winter months. That’s $30 for the base rate and $7 for the 7,000 gallons used.
“In my household, I have a family of five, and we use less than that. We use between 3,000 to 6,000 gallons each month,” Ammon City Administrator Micah Austin said.
The cost could go up significantly during summer months based on increased water usage due to watering lawns.
Currently, households pay a flat rate of $38.25 per month if they live on a small lot. Residents on large lots pay $45.75 per month. Austin explained that the city considers small lots as any lot one-quarter acre or smaller. Large lots are over one-quarter acre.
The city is proposing that residents without meters pay a flat rate of $50 per month for small lots and $70 per month for large lots.
Austin said those proposed flat rates come from the actual average yearly water usage data the city has collected for those size of lots. The city has been collecting water usage data since they began installing water meters in the 1970s.
“Based on the proposed water rate at $30 base rate and $1 per thousand (gallons) — if those same lots that are not metered were paying that metered water rate, their bill on average year-round would be $50 per month for a smaller lot and $70 per month for a larger lot,” Austin explained.
Austin said the majority of those who do not have water meters would have meters installed soon.
“We’ve adopted a plan to install meters in all of those remaining locations within six years. The majority of those will be installed in the next two years,” he said.
Coletti said the council will not vote on the proposed rate at the Jan. 17 hearing, but will at a later date.
“The goal is to be able to apply the rates, whatever is decided by the council, to the April billing and onward,” Coletti said
The city needs to generate $3.3 million in revenue to run the water system and pay for continued improvements to keep the system running. The proposed rate is projected to make $3.3 million in revenue.
“It’s really about finding the rate that sustains the system for the foreseeable future,” Austin said. “We don’t want to charge any more than we have to.”