Saratoga council raises sewer tap fees, discusses annexing Forest Service property
The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) property just outside town limits may soon be just inside Saratoga. Residents and businesses will also be paying more for sewer tap fees after the Saratoga Town Council meeting Tuesday.
After dispensing with routine matters, the council discussed the annexation of the USFS ranger station into the town of Saratoga. The council then voted to accept changes to ordinances that would increase the sewer tap fees.
Melanie Fullman, Hayden/Brush Creek District Ranger, spoke to the council about the desire of the USFS to be annexed into the town and to have the process done as soon as possible.
The USFS office approached the Water and Sewer Joint Powers Board (sewer board) in November 2016 and asked the board if the facility could receive town water since the well water at the facility is plagued with issues. At the meeting, Fullman was told if the USFS were to be put on town water, it would also have to be put on town sewer.
The USFS agreed and presented a plan to run town water and sewer to the facility at a sewer board meeting in February. At that time, the board approved the plan but informed the USFS the town would have to annex the USFS property, and referred the matter to the town council.
At the council meeting Tuesday, council members indicated they were inclined to annex the property, but warned it was a long process. Fullman informed the board the funding the USFS facility had for the project would expire in September if not used.
Fullman then suggested an interim agreement for annexation, such as a Memorandum of Understanding between the USFS and the town. By committing to annexation as soon as the legal process is complete, the USFS could begin building out the water and sewer lines before funding expires.
Council members agreed to work as quickly as possible to annex the facility. Mayor Ed Glode said a public hearing would be necessary before going any further, so the board agreed to hold a public hearing at the soonest possible time, May 4, a date which gives the town sufficient time to advertise the public hearing as required by law.
The other major issue confronted by the board also involved the town’s water and sewer system. In February, the sewer board voted to increase sewer tap fees from $1,100 to $2,500. Such an increase was necessary to allow the board to recoup the costs of installing a sewer tap, Richard Raymer, a member of the sewer board and Saratoga town council said.
The proposed rate increase ordnance was forwarded to the town council who held first and second readings in March. At the third reading, the board voted unanimously to approve the change.
There were no comments from members of the public during any of the readings. The increased sewer tap fees take effect immediately.
The next regular meeting of the Saratoga Town Council will be held at 6 pm, April 18 at Saratoga Town Hall.