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9/30/2012 6:00:00 AM
No October surprise: Kingman wastewater rates rising
Coral Loyd
Coral Loyd

Over the last few years, October has been the month when the city starts the process to raise wastewater rates. This year is no different.

Council will look to adopt two notices of intent to increase wastewater user rates and investment fees when it meets Tuesday. Last year's user rates jumped an average of $10 for residential users once the process was complete. This time around, the rates are expected to increase by about $12.

"We need to have revenue of about $7 million annually for both (treatment) plants," wrote Coral Loyd, the city's finance director, in an email to the Miner. "This is comprised of an approximate $4 million debt payment, $775,000 for debt reserve, $1.9-$2.1 million for operations and the balance (of) $125,000 for contingency."

The city's two wastewater treatment plants fell out of compliance with state and federal regulations earlier this decade,. The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality demanded the city correct the problem and held the possibility of imposing $25,000-a-day fines and a moratorium on building permits over the city's head.

The city took out $55 million in loans from the Water Infrastructure Finance Authority, and the price of paying back the loan was to be split between monthly users and initial one-time connection fees.

About half of the city's 18,000 water customers are connected to the city's sewer system. Those 9,000 or so customers have carried the burden of the paying back the loans.

Before there was a problem, sewer customers paid on average about $20 a month for service. After this proposed rate increase takes effect most likely in January, the typical residential customer using about 6,150 gallons of water will see their wastewater bill go from just over $50 a month to $62.63 a month.

It must be noted that these figures change depending on the kind of user and the amount of water used.

The city has made an effort to save its customers money in the long run.

For example, about $170,000 in annual tipping fees and operating costs will be saved by the city because an employee put forth an idea to compost biosolids with tree trimmings rather than dumping the waste at the landfill, according to a wastewater/water report set to be presented to Council Tuesday.

Similar cost-saving efforts are listed in the report, which is available online on the city's website and contained within the Council's agenda packet.

As for the wastewater investment fees, their increase is for inflationary purposes. Building a single family residence that contains 15 fixture units will yield an investment fee bill of $1,456 once the increase takes effect in January. Currently, that same house would produce a $1,365 wastewater investment fee bill. The proposal is a move from the roughly $91 per fixture unit (current) to an approximate $97 per fixture unit (proposed).

In other business, Council will decide whether or not to go with the Parks and Recreation Commission recommendation to institute a pilot program of smoke-free zones in the city's parks.

Council meets at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at the City Complex, 310 N. Fourth St.

Liquid Chicken
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Reader Comments

Posted: Saturday, October 6, 2012
Article comment by: Jon Mullinix

To I"m on septic HA HA HA. Don't laugh too much, when you see city trucks and equipment digging up your street, have a large pile of money saved for your sewer hook up. it will be mandatory around $12,000 per house. the septic systems around Kingman are putting to many nitrates in the ground water....

Posted: Saturday, October 6, 2012
Article comment by: Not Just Sewage, But Crap!

@ Curious With Questions - I don't know about golf course dwellers paying more in water rates for living there, but I do know that I'm paying more in county property taxes as one of them, yet my living space is a little less than theirs and my home is 30 years older. My point is that there are other, un-noticed inequalities where some people are favored over others.

Posted: Saturday, October 6, 2012
Article comment by: Jon Mullinix

The proposed water rate increase has my dander up. The city of kingman states that those individuals that are connected to the sewer pays a rate tied to water consumptionassuming that water used goes down the sewer drain.thus the sewer charge for that amount of water used.
I believe that the formula being used is very unconstitutional, about one third to one half of the water I use goes back into the under ground aquifer via my garden,trees and lawn.
If I am being charged for sewer service for water that does not go down the sewer, then why is not the other 35,000 Kingman citizens not being charged for their water not going down the drain to support the sewer system...

Posted: Friday, October 5, 2012
Article comment by: U R funny

OF COURSE, Everything (prices) are increasing....... out of pocket costs are higher than the intake of most of US limited income households... Obummer wants us all on welfare, but we can't get assistance because our SMALL income is a few cents over the limit....... we then get "I'm sorry, but your income is too high" HUH? Who can personally afford private insurance, housing, utilities AND food?, the be expected to pay $650+ monthly for health insurance, not including vision or dental? I have now been terminated from my employer due to work related injury, which insurance will not cover... & not as result of my negligence, have no or very small income an unable to afford any private paid medical insurance....... gosh don't ya just love "OBUMMERCARE"?
I doubt that this will get published!!!!!!

Posted: Friday, October 5, 2012
Article comment by: V Stokes

@ Kingman Resident
If you are on City water and sewer and have lived in your home at least a year....that scenario you described didn't happen. That's not the way the sewer billing works.

Your sewer billing is determined by the average of your actual water usage in the winter quarter (Dec, Jan, Feb). If you use less water during the other months, your sewer bill will decrease. If you use more water than the winter average.... your sewer rate will not go higher than what was determined in the winter.

If you go away for most of month and use little water....your sewer will drop accordingly. It's always the lesser of the 2 amounts. The only times when it will vary based on usage is during the winter quarter.

You can verify this with anyone in the billing Dept.

Your story is a fairytale to try to stir people up. Want to save on your bill? very very frugal with water usage during the 3 winter months I mentioned.

Posted: Friday, October 5, 2012
Article comment by: Kingman Resident

At the beginning of the summer my husband turned on our sprinklers. Our water bill was up $5 and the server went up $25.... he asked about this and the water co said it was based on the water usage. This is stupid. This is water that doesn't even make it into the sewer. I feel everyone's pain and there must be something that can be done.

Posted: Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Article comment by: Mr Anderson Thank You

Well, again Mr Anderson sugessted a solution, but it is too much work for the attrny to tackle, Carver suggested that if a solution could be made, then investigate it, Watson tries to stifle Anderson and the vote goes on. Why didn't the staff research and do what was necessary to move money from the water to wastewater to help keep the increase down? WHY? Why is it when something of change is requested, nothing is done and when it comes to council it is too late to do anything. WHY? From what I saw, Mr Anderson said he brought this up several months ago, discussed it with staff, nothing was done, item goes to council for a speedy vote and the ratepayers have to be the scapegoats. When does the attornies contract come up again? Please Anderson run for Mayor next time, please.

Posted: Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Article comment by: Bill Scaffold

I have a septic system. Ha! Ha!

Posted: Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Article comment by: Kingman Citizen

I'm going to write this in all caps because yes, I am shouting - LOOK TO THE EPA AND FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IF YOU WANT TO BLAME SOMEONE!!!

Posted: Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Article comment by: County Resident

@vock canyon
The City of Kingman more than doubled the connection fee well before the boom ended.

Posted: Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Article comment by: anonymous anonymous

I think reading comments how funny anyone can accuse liberals of anything related to fees in Mohave county a republican dominated county is amusing! Either they just like telling big whoppers or they really do not know who runs the county! Democrat strongholds exist in Arizona but in the southern part such as Tucson, even though the state is divided almost in 3rds to repbulican, democrat and indpendents certain counties are strong holds for various parties just happens to be Mohave county is GOP dominated, if one is going to assign political blame it cannot be laid at democrats at least not in this county!

Posted: Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Article comment by: STUART VARON


Posted: Monday, October 1, 2012
Article comment by: Desert Dry Death

Guess it was living out there so many years, my average water use is about 30 Gallons a month. I pay for it all at filtered dispensories by Bashas. Will not wash dishes with this stuff that comes from tap, is ok for flushing my RV's 2 cup flushing system though. As far as cooking water that is bottled from store, and then poured through carbon filter. They can stop the water tap because I can do very well without it thanks, I had it tested 4 years ago & it is dangerous. You don't have to trust any lab, just put the stuff under a stained microsope slide, so many critters you will swear off Kingman water for the betterment of your life, forever. Shut the system down, it stinks. Or die, your choice, so many have died, shame. Doctor warned me 6 years ago, do not wash your face with this stuff, and whatever you do, don't get it in your eyes...Oh I go on paying for it, but don't use it. Can't you people smell the stench?

Posted: Monday, October 1, 2012
Article comment by: I am Glad I moved!

To the People of Kingman – GET OUT NOW! GET OUT WHILE YOU CAN! You are over paying for food, clothing, phone, electric, gas, gasoline, housing, sale tax, we overpay for everything here. These elected people DO NOT CARE about you. They are not smart people, they are not leaders, they are arrogant small people that only care about their power, their family, their income, as long as you pay the bill. They hate you for being here, they hate you because you are here get out now! Stop shopping local! Stop spending your money here let the locals have their dusty backwards little town.

How come the city of Kingman went ballistic when the Cerbat Water Company did the exact same thing as Kingman they ignored their water company and their customers? The City of Kingman let this happen they let the treatment plants fail. Water prices will never go down here --- NEVER!

Posted: Monday, October 1, 2012
Article comment by: vock canyon

Since the major rebuild was caused by all the new construction why not double or triple the one time hook up fee's so that the locals are not subsidizing the contractors that building and selling homes. In short why not make the folks that caused the higher bills pay the higher bills.

Posted: Monday, October 1, 2012
Article comment by: V Stokes

If people really expect the full $ are wasting water the rest of the year. The estimated $12 increase will not be for everyone. I already pay $10 less than the $50 average mentioned in the my rate may go up by $8 or less (probably much did last year) according to my estimate. Family of 2 active adults, showers at least once a day, often more. Dishwasher and loads of clothes every other day. Some outside watering for flowers and the grapes.

Do you complainers know when your sewer rates are set based on water usage? Didn't think so.

The plants have to be payed 2 ways about it.

Posted: Monday, October 1, 2012
Article comment by: Go VOte

Those who are complaining are those who vote in the ones who voted for it. Ms Gordon did not vote for it, Mr Anderson did not vote for it, and perhaps Ms Young did not vote for it. I do know that Ms Gordon would have spoke up for us, too bad she has been replaced, now watch to see how the new members vote. Mr Anderson wanted to cut expenses, but was overruled by the other members. He knows that expenses can be cut, hope he speaks up this time to

Posted: Monday, October 1, 2012
Article comment by: d l

I am on a fixed income. I'm already only showering every 2 to 3 days and wearing most clothing over and over again before washing them just to get by. Now what am I supposed to do?
$144 more a year is huge for people in my position. I'd be curious to see the homes and vehicles of those who implement these fees and taxes for us to pay. I bet they are not struggling likeso many of us already are.

Posted: Monday, October 1, 2012
Article comment by: Curious with Questions

I have questions and comments.

Is there a way we can reduce this rate monthly? I recently noticed the increase of this on my bill because I have been taking measures to reduce all my bills since I am unemployed longer than I ever have been. If we flush less? Drain into our yards (which I learned about in gardening classes). Or is this a flate rate.

@That's Enough - Keep in mind those who live on the golf course actually pay an even higher rate simply because of the location of their home. So don't worry, if you don't live in that area, you *should* be safe.

Posted: Monday, October 1, 2012
Article comment by: I moved. ....

$13/month when I bought a home in Kingman in 2008, $85 when I left three years later, now it would be around $125 or more. Las Vegas may be much worse in years ahead - they're building that multi-billion-dollar pipeline to White Pine County.....champagne taste on a beer budget.

Posted: Monday, October 1, 2012
Article comment by: anonymous anonymous

Taxes and Fees one party raises the first, the other party denounces it, but raises the second one and does not see the connection that all the money comes from the same citizen tax payers, have always found amusement how left calls them taxes, right wing merely shifts it to fees! Neither one is unavoidable and like death its just part of life!

Posted: Monday, October 1, 2012
Article comment by: Just saying


We elected these folks to represent us. Now there're representing us. Maybe instead of staying home on election day[only 17% voted] we should have done our homework on these folks and voted accordingly.
We also blew it for the primary election. Look now who will be representing you on the Board of Supervisors. Doesn't our stupidity ever end?
So now we get one more chance to right some wrongs in the upcoming General election. Will we be stupid one more time?

Posted: Monday, October 1, 2012
Article comment by: Somethings Wrong

If I recall, the new waste-water plant isn't even being used. It would cost millions to connect it to the city of Kingman. So there it sits and here we pay...

This is extortion. We don't have a choice but to pay.

Posted: Monday, October 1, 2012
Article comment by: News is Very Bad

I also protest this increase. I also demand an audit of the water department. That being said, I support the upgrade of the older plant. I believe it is prudent to have a back up system in place in the event the primary system is compromised for whatever reason. Today I heard that the cost of diapers will increase dramatically because the only plant in the world making them (in Japan) exploded. Diapers are not an absolute neccessity since people can learn to use the cloth diapers again (from rags if they have to), but the process of having good water/sewage equates life and health. I believe the City could show more
available funds on their books by becoming more efficient on the managerial level, and by providing services on a more equitable level to it's citizens. It's fees to customers are already unjustly high.

Posted: Monday, October 1, 2012
Article comment by: Fred Beverage

I too am opposed to the hike. I just rented a house in Kingman and the first water bill shocked my budget. Do the Mayor and Council realize many families are literally living paycheck to paycheck and that extra $12 dollars, with the price of food, gas, utilities all rising, makes a huge difference. That is $144 extra a year. That is a month of electricity in High Summer or gas in deepest winter. It is a trip to the doctor or a good three bags of groceries. While paying off a debt in a hurry is a good thing, financing in the long term brings better budget stability. I am unable to get off tomorrow, so whoever goes, please express these opinions. It should not cost more to go to the bathroom than to get the water to the house!

My wife and daughter and I like our house, on our street in Kingman. But I guess we will be looking for new jobs in a new community next year after our current contracts expire.

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