Sewer connection fees jump more than $1,000

SHELLEY – It just got more expensive to build a home.

December 19, the East Idaho Regional Wastewater Authority board raised its connection fee by more than $1,000 from $4,244 to $5,639. The raised rate is meant to cover future expansion costs at the sewerage treatment facility. This fee only applies to new homes connecting to the region’s sewer system, not the monthly service fees homeowners are currently paying.

EIRWWA operates the Oxbow sewerage treatment facility west of Shelley. EIRWWA’s head engineer Scott Barry said the plant is operating at 85 percent capacity, producing between 1.4 and 1.7 million gallons of wastewater per day.

Shelley, Ammon, Bonneville and Bingham counties all use the the treatment facility.

“Because of growth in these areas, the facility needs to be enlarged from 2 to 4 million gallons per day,” Scott said  

He said the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality is also requiring EIRWWA to begin upgrading the plant.

Because of these EIRWWA’s board decided to raise its service hookup fees.

“The hookup fee is the cost expense a new home buyer will incur when connecting to the sewer system for the first time. In Shelley, this fee includes EIRWWA’s fee plus an additional $500 for the city’s collection system,” Gaydusek said.

She explained the city’s $500 fee pays for the city’ sewer lines. That fee is not increasing.

Gaydusek said with the fee increase, connecting a new home in Shelley to the sewer system will cost $6,139. Previously, it cost $4,744.

The current connection fee hike is one of the biggest taken by EIRWWA since its inception.  The last fee increase occurred two years ago when it was raised several hundred dollars. When the plant began operation, the board increased the fee by approximately $1,600 to align new connections with future plant expansion costs.

“The board asked its consulting engineering group, JUB Engineering, to put together an actual cost requirement for upgrading the plant.   This cost requirement set the new rate increase,” Barry said. 

Shelley Mayor Stacey Pascoe said the rate needed to be increased to protect current homeowners from having to pay more.

“If they didn’t increase it, the people at home, who are now paying the current bond to build the first phase of the sewer plant, would have to pay again to construct the second phase or upgrade.  This way, new home buyers will pay for the plant’s upgrade, which is the way it is supposed to be,” Shelley Mayor Stacey Pascoe said.

Gaydusek said the city council would consider EIRWWA’s increase at a public meeting scheduled on Jan. 8. 

“They typically agree to the increase unless they want to challenge the board  on their assessment,” Gaydusek said.

The current monthly service rate for homeowners in the region is $42.02 per ERU. This fee is for the operation and maintenance of the Oxbow plant. 

“This monthly rate for service is not going up at present,” Pascoe said. 

Editor’s Note:  Jeff Kelley, part-owner of Community Pioneer, sits on the EIRWWAs’ board as a representative for the city of Shelley.  It is part of Community Pioneer’s transparency policy of objective and unbiased reporting that he not be quoted nor be allowed input, opinion, or editorial power over any article written about or relating to EIRWWA.

Mike Price

Mike Price is an award winning journalist from Shelley. He is now one of the founding members and Editor-in-Chief of the Community Pioneer.

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