From the Weekly Register Call/Gilpin County News (Lynn Volkens):
Following public hearings, with no one from the public speaking either for or against, the Council approved Ordinance 10-15 and 10-16. The first ordinance amends Chapter 13 of the Municipal Code to require all residential units to install water meters and all commercial units to replace water meters. Commercial meters in use now have been found to be inaccurate. The City is purchasing all of the meters at an approximate cost of $281,000. Meter installation will begin in January. Residents will be billed for half of the cost of their meters (approximately $100) by adding about $2 to the monthly billings over a four year time period. Billings will go to the monthly format beginning in January 2011. The City will pick up the other half of the residential meter cost and pay for installation. Commercial water users must pay the full cost of meter replacement and installation and will also have their payments spread out via their water bills over a four year period. Once water use is being metered, the City will be able to accurately track water usage and bill accordingly. Leaks and other problems will also be identified more easily. Residents will be responsible for maintaining the meters in good working order and should contact the City for a list of contractors who can make repairs when needed. The meters are warranted for ten years.
The second ordinance (10-16) adopts water rates and fees. The 2011 water rates reflect an increase of 20% for all water users and may increase by that much each year for the next five years. Once the data from the meters is sufficient to determine actual usage, the City may find it does not need to increase the rates that much. A tiered system will also be developed at a later date so that those who use more than the base allowance of water will have steeper payments. For 2011, the residential base-rate will be $135.50 (Senior rate, $108) per quarter (but will be billed monthly). The current quarterly rate is $112.50. The commercial base-rate for 2011 will go from the current $180 to $216. The rate increases are designed to generate approximately $59,247 in annual revenue with the result of making the Water Fund self-sufficient in five years.
Each residential or commercial unit is to have its own tap, water line and meter-i.e. there is no sharing of this equipment, although there is some provision in the code for integrated units. If the City finds multiple users, the situation will be corrected and, once the water mains are laid in the street in front of those properties, the “new” water users will have to pay for their own tap, water line and meter. Water users are responsible for repairs and maintenance of the water line from the curb or property line to the structure being served.
The City plans to send brochures to water users and hold meetings so that citizens can learn more about the meters and rates. Those meetings are tentatively scheduled for the last two Wednesdays of January and the first Wednesday in February.
More infrastructure coverage here.