74°F
weather icon Partly Cloudy

Water rates could be answer to attracting families to city

This month we all received utility rate increases that were voted on by the City Council back in May. The only nay vote at the time was City Councilman Cam Walker.

The reason for the increases were clear. A report showed that our past rates were not sustainable. Our infrastructure would deteriorate faster than we collected money to replace it. Given this, I applaud the council’s willingness to tackle a tough issue and do what no politician wants to do and raise rates.

But while an increase was likely needed, I believe they got the details wrong.

A direct comparison on rates throughout the valley is difficult to do. Each jurisdiction has different service rates and different tiers of rates based on usage. How Southern Nevada Water Authority fees are added is also different from one jurisdiction to the next.

What is clear is that when it comes to water, Boulder City has the flattest rates. In every community in Southern Nevada, water gets more expensive the more you use. The first water you take from your tap each month is the cheapest and the last, likely the most expensive.

This is similar throughout the country and is this way for two reasons: First, we have decided that you shouldn’t have to pay as much for water to bathe, drink and clean as you do for water for your lawn or pool. Second, we want to encourage good conservation behavior.

The lowest rate in Boulder City is more expensive or as expensive as our neighbors, but our upper rate is the cheapest by a significant margin. Henderson’s highest rate is $4.41 per 1,000 gallons, and Boulder City’s is $2.73. Add to this the fact that our highest rate doesn’t kick in until the user is using 60,000 gallons of water, compared to Henderson where the highest rate kicks in at 30,000 gallons.

So basically, what this means is if you are a small water user, say you live in an apartment or small residential home, then you will pay similar or more than an equivalent user over the hill. But if you are a large homeowner with lots of lawn, a pool and a snow machine, you will pay far less than an equivalent user over the hill. (OK, I don’t know anyone with a snow machine, but given our recent temperatures, I have been looking into getting one.) So, the more water you use the better deal Boulder City water rates are when compared to what you would pay over the hill.

Historically, Boulder City has been friendlier to lush landscaping. Because of rapid construction and wind leading to incessant dust problems, early in our history, they used to offer lower rates to homes with lawns. Our current low rates for the biggest users is likely a carryover from this past, but perhaps we need to rethink this.

There has been much talk by the City Council about the need to attract young families to our community. Perhaps the water rates as currently structured are sending the wrong message and discouraging the very people we want to attract while encouraging behavior we want to avoid.

Nathaniel Kaey Gee resides in Boulder City with his wife and six kids. He is a civil engineer by day and enjoys writing any chance he gets. You can follow his work on his blog www.thegeebrothers.com.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
Luxury purchases support many workers

It appears that much higher taxes are on the horizon for corporations and wealthy individuals. “Tax the rich” is often proclaimed and, most recently, painted on a congresswoman’s dress.

Smart development key to sustainable future

I commend my friend and colleague Mayor (Kiernan) McManus for his comments in the Boulder City Review on Sept. 1 regarding his focus on conservation to best serve the residents of Boulder City. Together, our cities have a long-standing commitment to conservation and sustainability.

Solutions to nation’s woes just take action

What if you had solutions to a multitude of problems? Would you share what you knew or would you hesitate because the facts were contrary to the status quo?

Terrorists killed more than people

Sept. 11 changed us. And not necessarily for the better.

Dont let city become ‘Pothole Paradise’

Two years ago at a public event, a friend got in my face and in an uncharacteristic, agitated voice said, “Fix my street!” Initially I thought he was joking. But after two attempts to change the subject, I realized he wasn’t laughing.

Court of public opinion too quick to judge

Most people know me for my former Throwback Thursday columns with the Boulder City Review and some people may know of me from my failed run for City Council. What people don’t know, however, is that I used to work for actor Johnny Depp through a contract I had running events at multiple properties on the Las Vegas Strip. I was Mr. Depp’s private dining planner for all of his Las Vegas trips, including events with his family.

Relax, it’s Labor Day

Monday is Labor Day, and it’s somewhat ironic that a day devoted to celebrating the American workforce is a day that most of us strive to do anything but work.

Options for conservation must be explored

Fall weather will be a welcome change in the next few weeks, it has been a hot summer. Some of the hottest temperatures on record for Southern Nevada. And most of those records have been over the past few years. We can look at the changes in water levels at Lake Mead and know that things are very different from any other time in our lifetimes.

Agostini, Eagles Closet help those in need

Since the new school year began at the beginning of the month, students and staff members at Boulder City High School have made a variety of changes to help ensure their health and welfare in the wake of COVID-19.

Water’s low cost makes it expendable

Water is essential to life. Humans and every living species can go without many things but not without water; yet many take water for granted. We water our lawns, fill our swimming pools, wash our cars, take long showers, hose down our driveways and rarely even think about the costs involved. Why? Because water is too convenient and, most importantly, inexpensive.