Western’s Board of Directors adopted Ordinance 386 revising Water and Sewer Connection Fees that were a part of earlier Ordinances 381 and 382; this adoption included implementing the revised fees Jan. 1, 2017 to allow affected parties time to adjust their business finances as necessary. A three-year phase in was also approved with fees set for Jan. 1, 2017, Jan. 1, 2018 and Jan. 1, 2019. Connection fees will then be reevaluated by Western staff with the likely recommendation to the Board for an annual adjustment based on an industry standard construction cost index.To address potential vulnerabilities in fee sustainability for the District, staff studied our water and wastewater systems, plans for growth and demand, to develop an equitable nexus for the water and wastewater connection fees for new developments within our retail service areas. This process began in 2015. The following components were considered in the study:
- New facilities are required to meet new demands
- Demands are based on city and county general plans
- Projections indicate that we are about half-way to ultimate build-out
- Expansion is paid for by those that benefit
- Connection fees pay for expanded system capacity
- Fees reflect cost to new users without undue burden to existing users.
- Nexus between fee and public improvements that benefit new users.
- Fee proceeds segregated from general fund.
During 2015 and 2016, Western’s team has continued the research and fee studies as well as incorporating a Working Group of stakeholders in this analyzation process. In addition, workshops have been conducted with our Board of Directors.