Mar 28, 2014 10:19 PM by Tony Spehar

Water rate increase likely for Fountain Utilities customers

The Fountain City Council has given preliminary approval to a 9-percent increase in water rates for Fountain Utilities customers.

Water is something we all need, but in dry Colorado paying for it can sometimes be a problem. News of the increase in water rates in Fountain didn't sit well with some utilities customers, for the average customer the increase would amount to just over $5 a month.

"I think it's a little bit crazy, there's a lot of us who can't really afford it as is," said customer Erienne Martin. "I've had mine shut-off in the past because I can't afford it."

Fountain Utilities Director Curtis Mitchell said he understood that an increase in rates could be problematic for some customers.

"We certainly recognize this is difficult for our customers," Mitchell explained. "But it's also very important that we support a project that's going to be vital for our future."

The main reason for the increase is paying for Fountain's share of the Southern Delivery System (SDS) Project. Once completed the SDS pipeline will bring water from Pueblo to El Paso County. The current system used by Fountain Utilities is almost at maximum capacity according to Mitchell. Future growth in the area is dependent on a steady and reliable water supply.

"It's so important for our community," he described. "We've got to invest in our future, we've got to have water for future generations, we've got to have better system reliability now."

Mitchell told News 5 that once the SDS is completed in 2016 the rate increases Fountain has seen over the past few years will slow and eventually stop. The rate increase for 2015, if approved, is estimated to be around 3-percent.

Customers like Erienne Martin said they understand the reasoning behind the increase and could only hope the SDS plan works out.

"I can see the forecast of that working, it's just how long will that project actually take?" Martin asked. "I've seen the construction for it for months now, so it's just how long is it going to take and is it really going to help?"



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