Now that the Town of Marana has assumed control of the wastewater treatment facility after a lengthy battle with Pima County, officials are now reviewing a fee structure that will be put in place by March of this year.
At the start of the New Year, the Town of Marana took over the wastewater treatment facility on the north side, and on Jan. 17 officials introduced the proposed rates schedule to the Town Council.
With the council adopting the Notice of Intent to increase the rates, the Town now plans to hold a public hearing on the rate proposals during the Feb. 21 council meeting.
If the rates are approved, residents start paying the new fees in March.
In the outlined plan, the Town’s objective is to recover sufficient revenues to pay for operating expenses, fund any debt taken out to acquire the system and make capital improvements, maintain parity with Pima County wastewater rates and minimize the impact of any increases on customers.
After assuming control of the plant, the Town of Marana contracted with Westland Resources. The six-month contract will cost the town $62,500, plus a 10 percent contingency for project-related expenses, outside services, equipment purchases and allowances.
As required by law, the Town of Marana has to pay Pima County for the value of the wastewater treatment facility, which is estimated around $18 million.
If approved, the average customer will pay an additional $11.14 per month, which officials say is the equivalent of rates charged by Pima County.
In July, residents will see another increase of $11.86.
For non-residential customers, the rate increase will be $30.61 starting in March, and $33.26 in July.
The rate increases will impact about 1,800 customers on Marana’s north side.
According to the study presented by Town officials, implementing rates equivalent to those charged by Pima County remains heavily dependent on impact-fee revenues.
Officials warn that without the impact-fee revenues to counteract the costs of operations, customers could see “significant additional rate increases.”
Town officials recognize that keeping rates at Pima County levels is going to be a tough challenge as the process moves forward.