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LAYTON — Layton is proposing an increase to water service rates, and after a lengthy discussion on the item last week, council members say they want residents to know what could be coming their way.

Layton City Finance Director Tracy Probert said the increase varies based on meter size, but for a standard, 3/4-inch culinary water meter, the city’s proposal would raise base rates by 10%, bringing the current rate of $20.80 per month to $22.90.

Probert and Layton City Engineer Stephen Jackson both said the rate increase, at its core, is intended to support continuous operation of the city’s water system, as well as fund future upgrades and maintenance.

Jackson said the city’s water system, which is the largest in Davis County, is valued at about $265 million. It has nearly 300 miles of pipe and over 20,000 individual meters. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Layton’s population currently hovers around 80,000, making it the most populated city in Davis County.

“If you don’t have a good-quality water system, you don’t have a city,” Probert said. “Businesses are going to come here, people aren’t going to be able to live here if you don’t have a top-notch water system.”

The Layton City Council was originally slated to vote on the increase last week, and during a nearly four-hour long council meeting on Jan. 21, all five council members expressed interest in adopting the proposed rate changes. The council members all cited a similar rationale for their support, noting that the proposal is necessary to keep the city’s water system functioning properly.

But council members Clint Morris, Zach Bloxham and Tom Day all raised concerns about a lack of public outreach prior to the scheduled vote on the item. Specifically, the council members felt the item wasn’t noticed properly on the city’s council meeting agenda. On the agenda, the item was simply labeled as “consolidated fee schedule changes.”

“I feel like we’ve done a disservice with the communication on this,” Morris said.

Day made a motion, which was approved by the council 4-1, to table the item and specifically notice it on a future agenda using the term “water rate increase.”

Probert said he understood the council’s concern but also noted that agenda language used for the Jan. 21 meeting was standard and long used by the city. The city also followed all Utah public meeting notice laws for the item. Council member Dave Thomas, the lone dissenting vote on Day’s motion, said tabling the item likely wouldn’t make a difference on whether or not it passed.

As it stands now, the council will return to the item at its Feb. 4 meeting, during which public comment on the proposal will be accepted. City staff will not do a full presentation on the rate increase proposal again, but the item can be reviewed in detail by viewing the Jan. 21 council meeting on Layton City’s Facebook page or on Youtube.

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