OGDEN -- Mayor Matthew Godfrey expressed extreme disappointment Tuesday night that the city council refused to approve his proposal to immediately lower water rates.
"It's unjustifiable to charge some citizens more than others," he told the city council. "I encourage you to make that right."
Instead of adopting Godfrey's proposal, the city council approved a resolution to begin a comprehensive effort starting next month to establish new water rates.
Godfrey had asked the city council to address his proposal in a special meeting. However, the council instead added the proposal to its Tuesday night agenda.
City Council Chairwoman Caitlin K. Gochnour said the council is committed to embarking on a thorough public process to ensure the new water rates are in the best interest of residents and the municipality.
The new rates are scheduled to be in place by May 1, 2012, in time for the annual watering season.
Godfrey, who will leave office in January, said he's been trying for three months without success to get the council to address his complaint that customers without secondary water are being overcharged.
Of about 25,000 city water customers, about 13,000 don't have secondary water and rely on culinary water for both indoor and outdoor uses.
Homeowners and developers don't have the ability to choose whether they have secondary water, said Godfrey. In addition, those without secondary water are paying more for culinary water than those with secondary water, Godfrey said.
His proposal charges all water users the same rate for 10,000 gallons, which he said is the average amount a home needs for indoor use. It also proposes a tiered structure allowing those without secondary water to pay less than those with secondary water.
For example, customers with secondary water who use about 37,000 gallons, which is the average amount needed for indoor and outdoor use during the watering season, would see their monthly bill increase from $98.41 to $99.05 a month, under Godfrey's proposal.
Customers without secondary water who use 37,000 gallons would see their bills decrease from $94.45 to $63.70 a month based on the proposal.
Godfrey said his proposal would result in a $400,000 reduction in revenue to the city but it would not affect operations or bond rates for water infrastructure projects.
However, Bill Cook, the city council's executive director, said prior to the council's meeting that a $400,000 revenue loss is a huge amount.
In addition to addressing revenue projections, the council is undertaking the rate study to address a number of issues including:
SBlt Financial and capital improvement analysis for future planning.
SBlt A review of more accurate usage data that may come from new billing software and culinary water meters.
SBlt Discounts for certain users.
SBlt Simplified rate codes and rate structures.
SBlt Upgraded billing statements for customers.
SBlt Linking water usage and sewer usage rates together.
SBlt Review of the rate structure for both residential and commercial users.
Godfrey said the city has software that can adequately address the council's questions about new water rates.
"There is no need to go into a study," he said.