Cedar City Council votes on emergency water hookups, acquisition fees, among other items

In this January 2020 file photo, Cedar City staff and council members discuss an ordinance, Jan. 29, 2020, Cedar City | Photo By Kelsey Cooke, St George News / Cedar City

Cedar City — From a new crosswalk to emergency water hookups, the Cedar City Council moved through several action items Wednesday night.

In this Oct. 15, 2019 file photo, Cedar City Council member Craig Isom speaks during a candidate forum at Southern Utah University, Cedar City, Utah | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

The evening’s most discussed action concerned the amendment of an ordinance to allow residential subdivisions located outside city boundaries to connect onto the city’s water system for emergency backup purposes. At issue was Buena Vista Apartments’ request, per state requirement, to be hooked up to city water to be used only in emergency backup situations. The way the ordinance reads is that only government entities may request additional water connections.

Council member Craig Isom said he opposed to changing the ordinance.

“I would prefer to deal with a government entity rather than the people of Buena Vista or any other set of homes that needs a backup system to meet the requirement,” he said. “I feel much more comfortable with government entities using our water.”

Council member Terri Hartley also expressed opposition to amending this ordinance.

“I just have concerns about city infrastructure being used and paid for by city taxpayers to be used outside of our city limits,” Hartley said. “Water is becoming a very hot topic and a very expensive topic, and I worry about the potential in the future for others to come in if we open that door.” 

Isom said he wondered if it would be possible to have a government entity act as a mediator between the city and the people in Buena Vista Apartments, to which Paul Monroe, general manager of the Central Iron County Water Conservancy District, said, “I think that’s definitely thinking outside the box and one that our board would consider. I wouldn’t be able to answer that perfectly at this point.”

Ultimately, after council member Ronald Adams motioned not to amend the ordinance, seconded by council member Scott Phillips, the motion passed unanimously.

In other business, the council passed a resolution amending the city’s fee schedule to revise the Water Acquisition Assessment.

The water acquisition fee is different from the impact fee. The former is collected to purchase water rights or shares in an irrigation company; the latter is used for water infrastructure, pumps, wells, pipes and storage tanks.

The water acquisition fee is primarily utilized for commercial and industrial projects but also applies to new subdivisions and developments that did not provide water rights at annexation. This fee is based on the going market rate for water rights, which was $3,971 per acre-foot according to the previous appraisal. The recent appraisal shows that cost at $6,500 per acre-foot.

The council was in agreement that the acquisition fee needs to be changed and also agreed that time should be allowed for future builders and contractors to learn about the fee change.

In this Oct. 15, 2019 file photo, Cedar City Council member Tyler Melling speaks during a candidate forum at Southern Utah University, Cedar City, Utah | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

Council member Tyler Melling said that as far as numbers go, the approximated appraisal could still be a little below the going market rate.

“So I think this is definitely an adjustment we have to make,” he said. “I would move to approve the resolution amending the city’s fee schedule as outlined with an effective date of May 1st.” 

The motion was seconded by council member Phillips and passed unanimously.

Among the items passed in the consent agenda was an approval to waive late penalties on utility bills for April and May due to the city changing from Xpress Bill Pay to Invoice Cloud.

The council also approved: the final plat for the 300 West RV Park; an ordinance accepting the annexation of 60 acres located at approximately 3900 West Center Street; a new crosswalk at 757 W. 800 South in Cedar City and an ordinance approving no parking zones near the new crosswalk.

 The Cedar City Council will meet again April 7.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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