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Posted on: October 31, 2019

Notice of Proposed Increase in Water Rights Preservation Fee

Notice of Proposed Increase in Water Rights Preservation Fee
This posting serves as public notice that the Show Low City Council is considering increasing the water rights preservation fee, as outlined in Arizona Revised Statutes.


Notice of Proposed Increase in Fee

In accordance with A.R.S. §9-499.15, public notice is hereby given that the Show Low City Council will consider increasing the water rights preservation fee on January 21, 2020, but in no event sooner than 60 days after the posting date of this notice.

The current fee is $1.50 per connection per month for residential and commercial customer and is proposed to increase to $3.00 per connection per month for residential customers with a tiered rate for commercial users based on meter size.  The tiered rate will start at $3.00 per month and increase up to $15 per month for the largest sized meters.

Background:  The water rights preservation fee was established by the Show Low City Council on June 1, 2010, to protect and preserve the water rights of the City of Show Low. The city is an active participant in the Little Colorado River Coalition, which consists of cities, towns, irrigation districts, and other private parties whose goal is to preserve their water rights in the Little Colorado River Adjudication. The coalition has hired attorneys to represent its members in the adjudication. The fee is used to pay the attorneys to represent the City of Show Low as a member of the coalition.

In addition, the city has acquired rights through an agreement with the Show Low-Woodland Irrigation Company in Show Low Lake. Pursuant to that agreement, the city pays attorneys to protect the water rights in Show Low Lake and other waters that feed Show Low Lake.

Recently, the first phase of the trial with the Hopi Tribe concluded on past and present uses, the second phase of the trial on future uses is scheduled for June of 2020 with the three phases of the Navajo trial beginning in 2022, 2024 and 2026. The impending trials have caused fees and costs to increase. The city strongly feels that the users of the water should pay to preserve the rights to that water. An increase of $1.50 in the fee will allow the city to pay the costs in the adjudication and other actions to protect the water rights and also build the fund to pay future costs in the Hopi Tribe and, later, Navajo Nation trials.

The increased fee will be imposed pursuant to Section 3-4-1 of the Show Low City Code. If passed, the new rate will be effective February 20, 2020.

Written Report: The City began collecting $0.75 per connection per month in 2010.  From July 1, 2010 to September 2019, the City has collected $631,516 in fees.  During that same time frame the City has spent $ 809,607on preserving water rights.  This leaves a current deficit balance of $178,000 in the water preservation account.

The average monthly collections for 2019 have been $10,785.  Average monthly expenditures for 2019 have been $26,398.  Based on the data, it is clear that the current fee is not adequate to cover the recent average monthly expenditures going forward.

Due to the declining balance in the water preservation account, the City is proposing a fee increase to $3.00 per connection per month for residential customers and a tiered rate for commercial users based on meter size.  The tiered rate will start at $3.00 per month and increase up to $15 per month for the largest sized meters.

This increase will generate approximately $24,454 per month, with 83% of the amount collected coming from residential customers for a total of $20,244 per month  and 17% or $4,210 per month coming from nonresidential customers.  These future collections will come closer to covering the account balance. 

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