Marana residents and business owners can expect to pay the same for sewer service for now.
The Marana Town Council last week approved the new rates, choosing to mirror the price of sewer service currently paid by Pima County residents, even as the town looks to set up its own wastewater utility in the coming months.
“The wastewater rates actually won’t actually take effect until we take over the wastewater system,” said Assistant Utilities Director Dorothy O’Brien.
Getting a wastewater utility set up in the town has not been easy.
Marana and Pima County are locked in a court battle over the specifics of the wastewater system.
Monthly charges, initially $6.82, are projected to increase 6 percent each year.
The volume charge per 1,000 gallons will start at $2.25 and will increase to $2.61 in January 2010 — a 16 percent jump.
Since most residents use between 5,000 gallons and 10,000 gallons every month, they can expect to pay between $18.05 and $29.27 per month for sewer service when the town takes over the 10,213 residential accounts.
Marana also will provide service for 472 non-residential connections.
Residents currently pay wastewater fees through their monthly water bills. This is unlikely to change when the town assumes control of the utility.
The town hired the economic consulting firm Economists.com to study the county’s rates and compile a set of proposed fees for the town.
While the base service fee will remain the same as it is in Pima County, the town opted to charge a single usage rate for all non-residential users. Different types of businesses in Pima County pay different rates for sewer service.
In June, a judge ruled that the town owned the non-flow-through system, essentially pipes and pumps, and has the right to establish a sewer utility.
The ownership of a wastewater treatment facility on the northwest side of Marana is still in dispute.
The rates will go into effect whenever Pima County hands control of the system over to the town, something that could be months in the offing.
Monthly service fee for residential and non-residential customers: $6.82
Volume charge for every 1,000 gallons: $2.25
Wastewater service security deposit: $125
Late payment fee: $35
New service fee: $35
Bounced check fee: $25