Many do not understand why the upcoming rate increase is needed. The District understands the hardship that will be created in raising the water rates, however, the State is not giving the District much choice if we would like a new distribution system. Why do we need a new distribution system?
The Distribution system in River Pines was installed between the 1930's to 1940's with no upgrades since then. You are currently paying for water that is coming from rusted/lead pipes (in some areas). You have no water storage other than a 65,000 gallon tank which needs emergency retreatment or it will need to be replaced. There is also a 30,000 gallon water tank that leaks tremondously and needs replacement. Also, this amount of storage is not even close enough for fire fighting. Should a fire breakout in River Pines, with barely any water storage, 3/4 inch pipes and only ten fire hydrants, most likely the town would go up in smoke.
The new Distribution system would provide from the State $5,650,000 to do the following: Install a brand new 280,000 gallon water storage tank. Refurbish the current 65,000 gallon storage tank. Install 2 inch/6 inch water lines through the entire town (which will provide enough water flow for fighting fires). Install fire hydrants every 300 feet which is State law (and help with obtaining fire insurance or keeping existing insurance). Provide all new water meters with drive-by monthly reading (significantly reduce cost of current manual meter reads). Install pressure reducing valves throughout system. And also provide localized shut-off for repairs (currently almost the entire town needs to be shut off for a repair).
The State wants to see that if they give the District this "grant" money, that the District will be self sufficient for future repairs and maintenance. Just to give you an idea, it cost roughly $95,000 to just refurbish the 65,000 gallon water tank. Once the District has reserve money saved, then the hopes is to reduce the rates to an amount needed to pay regular repairs/maintenance and put a moderate amounts into the Reserve Account so that there is always funds for upcoming repairs and maintenance.
The District has been working on this project for five years. All of the planning, which includes the maps and enviromental study has been completed. The State tells us that they have the funds now to complete our project which is the construction of the Distribution system as described above.
What the people of River Pines really need to understand is, there are ONLY 210 water customers paying for the repairs and maintenance of the same system that would be used for a population of thousands (1,000's). When you have 1,000's of people paying the cost, it significantly reduces the individual expense (i.e. $95,000 expense divided by 1,000 population is $95 per hookup. $95,000 expense divided by 210 population is $452.38 per hookup. This is just ONE expense).
Hope this helps.
Candi Bingham, General Manager