TTSA eyes 100 percent connection fee increase
The Tahoe-Truckee Sanitation Agency is eying a 100 percent increase in connection costs to homeowners as a possible way to fund a necessary expansion of its treatment plant, General Manager Craig Woods said.
“We’ve started expansion considerations,” Woods said. “We are at 80 percent of capacity now, and it is appropriate that we look to the future for how and when we should add on to the plant to increase capacity.”
The proposed increase would add $2,000 to the cost of connecting a residential home to sanitary sewer, for a total of $4,000.
A public hearing and a presentation of the plans for expansion will be conducted on the rate increase on Wednesday, March 24 at 11 a.m., during the regular meeting of the TTSA board. The meeting begins at 9 a.m.
“What we did about a year ago was go out with a notice of preparation for plant expansion and environmental documentation on a plant expansion,” Woods said. “In the past year, we developed two documents – a project report outlining the need for a plant expansion and a draft environmental impact report. Both should be available to the public in a couple of weeks.”
Woods said the expansion would increase TTSA’s flow capacity from 7.4 million gallons per day to 9.6 million gallons per day. The total expansion could cost upward of $35 million to $40 million, and would be funded from connection fees and other revenue.
“We have done a financial analysis and determined that it would be reasonable to adjust connection fees to $4,000 per single family dwelling,” Woods said. “That $4,000 figure is the rate we had from 1981-89. We reduced the rate, and now we need to take the rate back up to pay for the expansion.”
Woods said TTSA split the project into two phases to spread out the cost over a longer period.
“The first phase would be to increase capacity hydraulically, ” he said. “The second phase would be to increase the support facilities for solids handling and nitrogen removal. That reduces the cost down to $1 million for the first phase and allows us to build or expand as the money comes in. That way, we are not building a big portion of capacity and not using it for a number of years.”
Woods said the planned expansion is expected to support TTSA’s coverage area through 2015. The plant currently has flows of around 5 million gallons daily.
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