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Water, sewer connection fees to rise in 2014

Clark County director said rates hadn’t changed in 14 years.

New water and sewer connection fees in Clark County will increase 40 to 65 percent next year.

Clark County commissioners recently approved a request by the local utilities department to raise water tap fees from $1,125 to $1,560, and sewer tap fees from $1,000 to $1,650 for 5/8 inch water meter, for example. The increase in water and sewer tap fees is the first in Clark County in 14 years and will only impact new customers.

“The rates are out of date. The connection rates have not been increased since (1999),” said Alice Godsey, director of Clark County Utilities.

The increases take effect Jan. 1, Godsey said.

Godsey said the water and sewer rate increases come after the utilities department has made numerous improvements to the water and sewer systems.

She said officials cannot determine how many customers will pay the higher fees as the number of residents who connect to the water and sewer system changes annually.

Currently, there are 6,926 water accounts and 8,129 sewer accounts, according to the utilities department.

In 2013, there were 17 new water customers and 13 new sewer customers. In 2012, there were nine new water customers and eight new sewer customers. And in 2011, there were eight new water customers and eight new sewer customers, according to information obtained from the utilities department.

“It’s not revenue we can count on because we don’t know how many new customers will come on board,” Godsey said.

Water and sewer costs have increased substantially since the Clark County Utilities Department raised rates in 1999.

“The overall Consumer Price Index has increased 40 percent since 1999, and the Water & Sewer cost category of the CPI has increased 92 percent since 1999,” Godsey said.

“The purpose of the capacity charge is for new customers to pay for their share of the equity in the existing water and sewer systems that have been paid for by all existing customers. The revenue from tap fees is deposited in a reserve fund to be used for future capital improvements,” Godsey said.

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