Proposed Fee FAQs
Why are you proposing a flat fee of $3.05 for all metered water customers?
Staff is recommending a $3.05 flat fee (plus tax) to help provide the revenue stream needed to invest in the repair and replacement of our aging water infrastructure. This includes water lines, wells, reservoirs, pumps and other assets needed to continue to ensure the safe, reliable delivery of water to Buckeye residents and businesses.
How long will this fee be in place?
We anticipate the proposed fee to last the life of the WIFA loan (25 years), but Council has requested we review it periodically in case revenue streams change substantially, either up or down.
Water rates were just increased. Why do you need another fee?The Buckeye City Council did not approve a proposed rate increase earlier this year (July 2019). Water rates have not increased since 2015. This proposed new fee is a flat fee for every metered water customer, and will help provide a revenue stream needed to invest in the repair and replacement of the city’s aging infrastructure.
Don’t we already pay for repair and replacement through our CFD rates?CFDs are different and separate from water rates or this proposed new flat fee. CFDs pay for the initial installation of infrastructure from the developer. The terms and conditions of each CFD differs with each development agreement, and depends on what infrastructure the developer installed in their community. The city is required to maintain, repair and replace all of this infrastructure citywide, once in place and operational. This proposed flat fee would go to the repair and replacement of this equipment throughout the city.
The infrastructure in Festival and Tartesso are new compared to the rest of the city. Why should I pay for an increase that only affects the older part of the city?All operating costs and revenues are tracked for the entire system. Funds from the proposed flat fee will be used citywide whenever repairs are required throughout the city, including Tartesso and Festival.
How will this new fee improve water quality, attract new employers, restaurants and retail shops?
Water Quality - The Water Resources Department is investing in the newest well drilling technology, materials and tools in the industry to treat the water served to our customers. With these technologies we are finding better quality of water. However, the technology and construction of these new wells requires additional costs. The proposed new fee will help recover the costs associated with treating and delivering the higher quality water to Buckeye residents and businesses, ensuring the city can continue to attract new development.
Economic Development - The future of Buckeye relies on providing safe, reliable water service to both current and new residents and businesses. Having solid infrastructure in place for new businesses and developers to connect to will drive our economic development. This will make attracting employers, retail shops, restaurants and other amenities our residents deserve easier.
The city requires developers to pay Development Impact Fees (water, sewer, streets, etc.) to recover the costs each new home and business has on the system.
Why are current residents subsidizing new developments?The city requires developers to pay Development Impact Fees (water, sewer, streets, etc.) to recover the costs each new home and business has on the system. Through good planning current residents do not subsidize growth.
How come improving water quality is so expensive in Buckeye compared to other cities?
Buckeye relies almost entirely on groundwater pumped from the aquifer below the city. The groundwater pumped must meet all federal standards established by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (https://www.epa.gov/dwstandardsregulations).
Buckeye’s aquifer contains high concentrates of naturally occurring minerals, which requires the city to spend additional funds to both drill newer wells to reach better quality water, and the costs to treat the water to meet EPA standards.
I get my water from EPCOR or Arizona Water. Will this flat fee be on my bill too?No. If adopted in January, the proposed fee will be on all Buckeye metered water accounts, (residential, commercial, multi-family and landscape). If you receive your water from a well or a private water company, such as EPCOR or Arizona Water, this proposed fee will not be on your monthly bill.
Doesn’t this new fee really just help the city pay off the purchase of the Global Water System?The purchase of the Global Water system was completed through a previous loan. The proposed new fee will help provide additional financial security for the city to apply for new loans to help in the repair and replacement of our existing infrastructure.
Global Water Purchase FAQs
What was the process when the city approved the purchase of the Global/Valencia Water Company?The city began the process of purchasing the Global/Valencia Water Company in 2014, with the closing occurring in July of 2015. During this time, the city hosted several open house public meetings that were advertised on the city’s website and social media channels.
Why did we purchase Global/Valencia Water?
The city acquired the Global/Valencia water system for a variety of reasons.
- The main reason was to eventually create one single system for the city, improve fire flow/protection, create redundancy and increase reliability for customers. If there’s ever a water main break, the redundancy in the system reduces the chances of an interruption of service to customers since we can re-route water around the broken water line.
- Another reason for purchasing the Global/Valencia water system was to improve water quality and address taste and odor complaints in this area. Since the city took ownership of this system, water quality has improved.
The pictures below show the difference in water quality after the city took over the Global/Valencia Water system. The photo on the left is from a water quality incident in August of 2015. The photo on the right from October 2015 is after the incident was resolved.
- In addition, having one single system allows us to properly plan and prepare for required maintenance, rehabilitation, infrastructure inspections and capital projects to continue to improve water quality. It also helps position the city to continue providing uninterrupted service to existing and future customers.
- Finally, improving our infrastructure will increase our economic development opportunities with new jobs and additional revenue coming into the city, which will lessen the tax burden to current residents.
Was there a thorough inspection of the entire Global Water system before the city purchased it?
Unfortunately, the Global/Valencia Water infrastructure was not properly evaluated until after taking possession of the system. City personnel were not given entry into the Global sites until July 2015.
Once the city took possession, Water Resources staff began performing some flushing in the system to improve the treatment process and water quality. However, flushing the lines created additional water quality issues and was discontinued.
Did we do a before and after review of the lines, wells and infrastructure that were part of the system?
Since city personnel were not given entry into the Global/Valencia sites until July 2015, an evaluation of the system was not completed until after the city took possession.
We do believe that the Blue Hills water plant was cannibalized for parts. When we finally were able to enter this treatment facility (after July 16, 2015), we discovered that control components were removed from the control cabinet.
How many more developments are part of the Global purchase; and how many of those agreements still need to be resolved?Out of the 79 line extension agreements (LXAs) from Global that were part of the sale, 33 communities are completed or built out, six are currently under development, and 40 have yet to start.
What is the balance on the Global loan purchase? How is this being repaid?The terms of the loan were $55 million at closing, then $45 million calculated through a $3,000 fee for each new service connection, up to 15,000 homes, or 20 years, whichever comes first. To date, there are approximately 13,000 homes yet to be constructed in this area, totaling $39.2 M.