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PAWSD revises fees and charges

At its regular meeting Tuesday night, the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District Board of Directors (PAWSD) adopted a revised “Schedule of Fees and Charges,” effective immediately.

Of particular concern to most consumers, monthly water and sewer services fees remained unchanged. The base rate for in-district water service is still $12 per equivalent unit (EU), while the base rate for wastewater service is $23 per EU. The number of EUs is determined by water meter size, with a 5/8-inch meter being one EU.

The board also maintained existing charges for water use by volume. The use of 1-8,000 gallons in the district still costs an additional $4.20 per 1,000 gallons over the base rate. For 8,001 to 20,000 gallons, the fee adds another $8 per 1,000 gallons, and anything over 20,000 gallons is assessed an extra $9.45 per 1,000 gallons.

During dry periods when available water is low and mandatory water conservation requirements are in effect, an additional in-district, drought surcharge will be imposed as follows:??

• 0-8,000 gallons usage (per 1,000 gallons), no additional charge.

• 8,001 – 20,000 gallons usage, $2.18 per 1,000 gallons.

• Over 20,001 gallons usage, $2.40 per 1,000 gallons.

While notably higher than in-district fees, out-of-district water and wastewater fees actually fell slightly from last year’s levels. The dips were apparently the results of a convoluted formula too elaborate to delve into here.

Those building a new home, or involved in the construction industry, will be happy to know the district has held Capital Investment and Water Resource fees to last year’s levels. The water CIF is still $3,579 per EU, while the wastewater CIF remains at $4,252 per EU. Last year’s $5,617 WRF will continue, with a five-year, 5-percent per annum amortization available again this year.

Perhaps the most significant changes to the fee schedule were the additions of an equipment-replacement fee and labor charge for repairing damage to the district’s automated meter reading equipment. The “FireFly,” which relays water meter readings to the district’s central database, is located either on the lid of the water meter, or attached to a post next to the meter pit.

Upon discovering evidence of someone tampering with, damaging or destroying the FireFly, the district will charge the respective customer $104 — plus an hour of labor — for repairs, as necessary. Should a customer inadvertently damage a FireFly or its wiring, he or she may still be subject to the charge.

Although the district continually reminds consumers to keep meter pits free of ice and snow, particularly if an emergency should arise and immediate access to the pit is necessary to stop water flow, customers should do so in a manner that avoids damage to the FireFly.

Additionally, according to district Customer Service Manager Lisa Dermody, “It is imperative that customers identify the location of their meter pit prior to removing snow from walkways, driveways or parking lots. We have experienced several interruptions in data transmission this winter due to damaged or disconnected FireFlies, resulting from snow removal activities.”

Other changes to the PAWSD fee schedule include:

• Reducing hourly labor costs, due to decreased expenditures on district personnel health benefits.

• A $40 increase in new water and wastewater connections.

• Increases in certain inclusion charges.

• The elimination of an inspection fee for cross-connection control, and a reduced inspection fee for main line construction.

PAWSD also reminds customers leaving the area for a time that district personnel will gladly turn their water off or on without charge, provided the service occurs between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. daily, including weekends. Customers intending to travel are encouraged to take advantage of this service, as it may prevent costly water bills and property damage, especially during the winter months.

To view or download a complete list of PAWSD fees and charges, visit the district Web site at www.pawsd.org. For questions or concerns, call the district office at 731-2691.

chuck@pagosasun.com