Rifle water rates are going down after approval of a three quarter of a cent sales tax hike

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From The Rifle Citizen Telegram (Mike McKibbin):

Water rates will be substantially lower, after City Council approved an emergency ordinance on Dec. 19 that modifies the water rates that were implemented in September. Those rates were more than double the previous rates in some cases, and were increased to help repay a $25.5 million loan to build a new water treatment plant.

City Manager John Hier said the reduction follows voter passage of a 3/4 of a cent sales and use tax hike at the Nov. 6 general election. That tax hike was proposed by the city to help ease the financial burden on water users.

Hier noted the ordinance also eliminates a second round of water rate increases planned for April 1.

“I think these are very reasonable rates and represent a significant reduction in water bills,” Hier said.

However, he noted the new rates are still higher overall than the rates that were in effect for the first half of 2012. But, he added, tiers one and two ($3.20 and $3.40 per 1,000 gallons) are less than the old rate of $3.54 per 1,000 gallons.

“I believe these new rates will give water customers the relief they are seeking,” Hier wrote in a memo to the council.

Meanwhile, the city council has started awarding contracts for the construction of the new water treatment plant. Here’s a report from Mike McKibbin writing for The Rifle Citizen Telegram. Here’s an excerpt:

At its Dec. 19 meeting, Rifle City Council unanimously approved a construction management contract with ARCADIS and Malcolm Pirnie for up to $690,000, and agreed to hire Phil Vaughan Construction Management of Rifle as the owners advisor for up to $203,750. The city recently hired Jim Miller as the resident engineer for the project, officially the Rifle Regional Water Purification Facility.

The total cost of the contract, agreement and hiring of Miller is $1.1 million, Utilities Director Dick Deussen explained to the council in a written report. Funds will come from the $25.5 million loan the city received from the Colorado Water Resources and Power Authority to pay for the project.

The total cost compares to $1.4 million for these purposes in the loan agreement, Deussen said, and added the city spent about $1.2 million at the wastewater plant for these services.

Deussen said the average daily cost of the contract with ARCADIS and Malcolm Pirnie is estimated to range from $52,000 to $78,000 a day.

With offices in Highlands Ranch, ARCADIS has water management, engineering, and environmental restoration expertise, according to their website. Malcolm Pirnie focuses on water quality, process, planning and delivery and has expertise in water science and engineering.

The city has had a contract with the two companies since April 30, 2009, for design and construction engineering services, including resident engineering. Action by the council on Dec. 19 amended that contract.

More infrastructure coverage here.

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