Brighton City Council gives initial OK to 4-percent hike in water, sewer costs

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By Crystal Nelson

BRIGHTON — Water and sewer rates will be going up for Brighton residents. In an 8-0 vote, council approved the first reading of an ordinance that would raise water and sewer costs 4 percent for residents.

According to the ordinance, the monthly fixed-rate fee for water would increase $2.50 a month to $12.36, and the user fee would increase 16 cents per 1,000 gallons. The monthly fixed-rate fee for sewer would increase $1.10 a month to $8.15, and the user fee would also increase 16 cents per 1,000 gallons.

Utilities Director Jim Landeck said, this would mean an estimated increase of approximately $6.92 per month for a family of four who uses an average of 12,000 gallons of water and sewer a month, and an estimated increase of $7.74 for a family with three teens that uses about 15,000 gallons of water and sewer a month. Seniors who use around 3,000 gallons of water and sewer per month could expect an increase of approximately $4.32.

“Much like every other commodity that’s sold, whether its groceries or gasoline or anything else, the cost of service — the cost of delivery of that product — is going up,” Landeck said. “Water uses a lot of energy, water uses a lot of equipment to treat and pump, water uses a lot of engineering and legal fees for acquiring water rights; converting that water for municipal use, all that adds to the cost of service.”

The city’s storm drainage fee will also increase five cents per month per household to $1.84, which Landeck said is still the lowest rate in the metropolitan area.

Landeck said council has to perform a second reading of the ordinance and publication before rates would go into effect for residents. Landeck said the ordinance could go into effect as soon as Feb. 1, 2013.

Although all council members were in favor of the rate increases, many expressed their concerns about the city’s aging infrastructure, as some pipes are as old as 100 years. Mayor Pro Tem Wayne Scott said he wants residents to understand that the rate increases mean the city will be able to hold its own and is not anywhere close to solving the problem of aging infrastructure. Landeck said he would be preparing a long-range plan for utilities to bring back to council mid-year.
Councilman Chris Maslanik was not present to cast his vote.

In other business:
— Council voted 8-0 to allow Mayor Dick McLean to approve the memorandum of understanding regarding Denver International Airport and approved the appointment of McLean and Council member J.W. Edwards to be the city’s representatives on the Airport Coordinating Committee.

— Council voted 8-0 on amending the 2012 budget with changes to the general fund, cemetery, capital improvement, parks and recreation capital improvement, water, wastewater, storm drainage and Brighton Urban Renewal Authority.

— Council voted 7-0 to allocate $126,000, as recommended by the Lodging Tax Fund Committee for the 2012 calendar year. Recipients include heART of Brighon ($20,000 for the creation of the first Brighton Blues Festival), Brighton Cultural Arts Commission Task Force ($15,000 for a cultural tourism website), Brighton Economic Development Corporation ($35,000 for an image campaign), Brighton Economic Development Corporation ($30,000 for an Insigns/Conference proposal) and the Chamber of Commerce ($62,000 for a number of programs and resources it would like to provide). Councilwoman Wilma Rose chose to abstain from voting because she served on the committee.

— Voting 8-0, council authorized the purchase of two Fulton Ditch shares from Michael G. West for $30,000, which the city will use for irrigation water.

— The Streets and Fleet department will be submitting a $100,000 grant to the Colorado Department of Local Affairs – Energy and Mineral Impact Assistance Program for the paving of Crown Prince and Weld County Road 6, approved by council 8-0.

— Council voted 8-0 to accept the bid of Levi Contractors, Inc. in the amount of $64,130 for the contract for the 27th Avenue and Fire House Road Storm Sewer Construction Project.

— Council voted 8-0 to make a number of appointments to its commissions, including Matt Johnston to the Brighton Planning Commission with a term ending in January 2017; Terry Moore and Milton Oglesby as members of the Liquor Licensing Authority, with terms ending in January 2017; and Daryl Meyers as an at-large member of the Lodging Tax Advisory Committee, for a term expiring December 2015.

Upcoming Council Meetings
A special city council meeting has been scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Jan. 8 at city hall in the study session room regarding a grant application. A study session to be held immediately following the meeting. Council will not be having a meeting on Jan. 1, due to it being New Year’s Day.

The city of Brighton’s State of the City Address will be held at 7 p.m. Jan. 24 at the Armory.