TRUCKEE, Calif. - Those involved in new construction within the Truckee Donner Public Utility District's service area can expect to pay more in water fees in the coming months.
At a TDPUD board meeting Wednesday night, the board of directors unanimously approved adjusting both one-time water facility fees and water connection fees - each fee hadn't been adjusted since April 2005 and February 2008, respectively.
The water facility fee for commercial projects such as golf courses and schools will increase about 30 percent due to inflation over the years, said Neil Kaufman, water system engineer for TDPUD.
That increase will take place in two phases, the first taking effect 60 days after the board's vote, and the second taking effect Jan. 1, 2014.
"We're spreading the increase out because we do recognize that it can be a significant increase if unplanned for," said Steven Poncelet, public information and conservation manager for the TDPUD, after Wednesday's meeting.
Pat Davison, of the Contractors Association of Truckee Tahoe, said she would like that timeframe to be extended.
"We still prefer the three-year phase-in of the commercial phase increase," she told the board Wednesday.
"I can't speak for the rest of the board, but for myself I feel like we've met a middle ground," said board president Tony Laliotis. "I think this gives developers and contractors some time to get their plans in before the final step comes into play, and trying to move forward with some of these projects gives them time to save a little bit of money."
Those involved in residential projects - or single-family residential housing - will have an opportunity to save money since the water facility fee for those projects will see a 3-cent decrease per square foot, going from $1.64 to $1.61.
"What has happened in the interim since 2005 is the size of houses (most notably the living space) have increased significantly, so it's not that the cost of providing service has decreased," Kaufman said. "It hasn't. It has increased in the same manner as the commercial has; it's just the houses have grown at even a faster rate, so on a per-square-foot basis, it goes down."
This fee change will take effect 60 days after being adopted.
"The purpose of facility fees is to deal with the impact of new construction, growth upon the water system," Kaufman said after the meeting. "That basically pays for the construction of additional water supply, additional water storage capacity and associated system-wide large transmission to serve individual projects."
"Growth pays for growth," Poncelet said.
Board vice president Ron Hemig also touched upon that topic.
"Again, our job is to make sure there are funds available for whenever this (growth) occurs, so we have to collect in advance and we have to be prepared," he said.
This fee is increasing by approximately $100 for smaller meters; as for the larger meters, they will remain at actual cost, Kaufman told the board, in order to reflect current district costs.
"Water connection fees go with the actual physical connection of a project to the water system," he said after the meeting.
Some costs for the district in doing so include the purchase and installation of a water meter and administrative costs associated with creating new accounts, Kaufman said.
This fee will go into effect 60 after being approved.