Council OKs budget

The City Council passed its budget for the 2014-15 fiscal year at a special 7 a.m. Tuesday meeting, but still mulled over the possibility of raising the water rates for Boulder City customers.

Boulder City has to pay the Southern Nevada Water Authority about $577,000 for the 2015 fiscal year, an increase of roughly $100,000 from the year before. According to Finance Director Shirley Hughes, that number is expected to exceed $1 million by the 2018 fiscal year.

SNWA is working to reduce debt incurred to make improvements to its water delivery system, anticipating greater growth in the Las Vegas Valley than what actually occurred. That growth would have offset much of the costs.

Hughes proposed a 63 percent increase to Boulder City customers to cover the surcharge during the May 13 council meeting, but council members considered other alternatives.

After weighing their options, the council leaned more toward the idea of raising the monthly rates by half of the 63 percent originally proposed. If the council agrees to a 31.5 percent increase, the other half of the remaining balance will be taken out of the city’s rate stabilization fund.

“If you look at the first year after passing (the 63 percent) entirely through, it’s a big jump,” said Mayor Roger Tobler. “We don’t want to tap into the rate stabilization fund, but it’s there for that purpose. The 50/50 plan buys us some level of comfort for our rate payers.”

Rates for Boulder City residents won’t increase until a business impact survey is completed, Hughes said. Though she did not have a definitive date for when a decision would be made on the potential increase, she said it would be “soon.”

“The provision of water is the basic commodity that we deal with as a society in Southern Nevada,” said Councilman Duncan McCoy. “We have to have the public discussion and I’m glad we’re finally having it.”

The city’s overall budget is just shy of $27 million.