Letter to the editor: Rate increases proposed for usage overages
Ferron City with Castle Valley Special Services is proposing an unfair and discriminatory increase to county residents served by Ferron City culinary water.
We view the proposal to triple overage fees as punishment for people who live outside the city boundaries. The problem is that most of the county residents served by the water system are watering animals with culinary water during winter months. Farms and ranches are outside of the city limits where they belong. Stockmen are rapidly trying to solve this problem with a not-yet-completed stock watering system. This is a very expensive project and will take some time and a lot more money to complete. We need more time.
If the proposal to radically raise these water rates is passed, many producers will pay about the equivalent of a steer or more each month for water during the winter and early spring. It is already nearly impossible to show a profit ranching or farming without this horrific financial blow. The unfair element is that county residents served by the Ferron system have no voice or vote in the matter even though they are the largest owners of water in the Ferron Canal and Reservoir Company that supplies water to Ferron City.
Presently the monthly fee for water in the Ferron system is about $18: the same fee charged city and county residents. The contention is that residents of the city proper also pay a property tax of about $12 per month while county residents do not pay this city tax. We propose to pay this additional $12 each month and then receive the same overage rates as city dwellers. This seems only fair when you consider stockmen and farmers have paid for water conservancy in the Ferron system.
If one considers that even with government subsidies, all members of the Ferron Canal and Reservoir Company incurred heavy expense and in most cases heavy debt to install underground water and sprinkling systems to conserve water in the system. This is critical to water supplies even during good water years. It makes substantially more water available to city dwellers who did not participate in this expensive project. Those who own the most water are those who paid the most and are now the ones being attacked the hardest by this proposed huge increase. This seems extremely unfair. Ferron stockmen and farmers' share of this project amounts to about $7 million.
Stockmen and water shareholders propose to solve this unfair proposal with payments of the additional $12 each month to equal the taxes paid by city residents. They merit the same overage charges paid by all culinary water users in the system. Give us time to complete our stock watering system. Don't punish those who have taken the biggest and most expensive steps to make water available to residents of the Ferron area. We have been supportive of Ferron City, the golf course, and the secondary water system. Why punish us with huge, unfair fees?