By Julie Johansen
The Castle Valley Special Service District (CVSSD) held a public hearing on Thursday to hear comments on the proposed increase of water rates outside the district.
Jacob Sharp, CVSSD Manager, explained that the proposed rate increase is due to the recent tax increase on properties and homes in Emery County. He pointed out that the average stick built home value in Emery County in 2023 is $226,723 compared to $143,496 on the same property last year.
The Castle Valley Special Service District tax rate for 2023 is .001959, which is an average increase $89 annually. This would equate to an increase of $7.41 per month. The current outside district water rate for a standard ¾” connection is $45 per month.
In a previous board meeting last month, it was decided that an increase was needed and so the public hearing was posted to receive comments from affected water users outside of city limits. Citizens inside the city received the increase as a line item on their property tax notices from Emery County.
Several county citizens attended the hearing with questions and comments for the board. Concerns centered around the services that water users outside of city limits receive compared to the city dwellers. The board answered that the district provides services by delivering water to the outside lines.
Also mentioned was the frequency of increases for outside water connections and how much the cities pay the district for water. It was pointed out that the rates will go up whenever there is a tax increase. Another concern was where the money goes and what it is used for. The service rates where then briefly discussed.
Following the closure of the hearing, the board approved the rate increase. Now, each city will have its own public hearing and set its individual rate. Because of the difference in property values and city expenses, these rates could vary.