Water rates may be on the rise in Marana.

The Marana Town Council unanimously voted on Tuesday, Jan. 20, to adopt a notice of intent to increase water rates and to hold a public hearing on the matter Feb. 24.

The proposed change would raise rates by 8 percent on March 23 and by an additional 4 percent in January 2010.

An 8-percent increase would mean typical residential customers, who use between 7,000 gallons and 10,000 gallons per month, would pay $29.05 to $36.02 — an increase of $2.15 to $2.67.

In Oro Valley residents who use 7,000 gallons per month pay $33.02. And Metro Water customers who use 7,000 gallons pay $30.27.

The proposed increases would give Marana’s fledging water utility money it needs to reorganize as a “true enterprise fund entity” — a financially self-sufficient utility operating under the umbrella of the town.

Currently, the utility supplements water fees from customers with money from the town’s general fund.

“The general fund supports so many things the town does, so the more you can move into an enterprise model, the better you are,” said town spokesman Rodney Campbell.

Becoming an enterprise fund also could allow the utility to put badly needed money back into the town’s coffers, Campbell said.

“If you raise the base rate or base on consumption, you make it a self-sufficient enterprise that, at some point, would be able to pay back to the general fund instead of having it supplement you,” he said.

The enterprise model is standard among utilities, said Dorothy O’Brien, Marana’s assistant utilities director.

“The best management practice is to move toward being an enterprise,” O’Brien said. “That way, if you want to do benchmarking against other towns and communities, it’s easy.”

RATE HEARING

WHAT: Public hearing on water rates

WHEN: 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 24

WHEN: Marana Municipal Complex, 11555 W. Civic Center Drive

ONLINE: http://www.marana.com">www.marana.com

PHONE: 382-1999

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