OGDEN -- Mayor Matthew Godfrey plans to employ a rarely used executive privilege to call the city council into a special session, forcing them to address his proposal to lower Ogden's water rates.
The special session is tentatively set to be held Nov. 15, Godfrey said Friday.
Godfrey, who hasn't called for a special session during his 12 years in office, said he's been trying without success since August to get the council to address his complaint that secondary water users are being overcharged.
"It's been disappointing that they haven't addressed it," he said. "It's really important. About two-thirds (of city residents) are paying more than they should."
Godfrey said he has provided numerous documents and reports requested by the city council regarding his proposal.
City Council Chairwoman Caitlyn Gouchner said the council is waiting to hear the details of Godfrey's complete proposal.
Of about 25,000 city water customers, about 16,000 don't have secondary water and rely on culinary water for both indoor and outdoor uses.
The remaining 9,600 customers pay about $150 as an assessment as part of their property taxes for secondary water from Pine View Water District and are billed by the city for culinary water, Godfrey said.
Homeowners and developers don't have the ability to choose whether they have secondary water, said Godfrey. Those who have secondary water pay for it with property taxes, but end up paying far less than those who do not have access to secondary, said Godfrey.
In addition, those without secondary water are paying more for culinary water than those with secondary water, said Godfrey.
Customers without secondary water using about 37,000 gallons, which is about average for home and lawn use, currently pay $94.45 a month, Godfrey said.
Those with secondary water using the same number of gallons pay about $25 in property taxes during the six-month watering period and $26.21 to the city for culinary water for a total of $51.21 per month, Godfrey said.
Godfrey is recommending a $5.30 per month reduction year-round for residents who don't have secondary water. In addition, during the outdoor watering season that runs from April to October, he is asking that water bills for non-secondary users be reduced an additional $30 per month to bring them in line with customers who have secondary water.
Existing water charges are tied to an extensive study completed for the city council in 2007 by Lewis, Young, Robertson & Burningham, a Salt Lake City consulting firm, to increase rates to fund about $52 million infrastructure improvements.