La Plata County residents should pay double the rate Durango residents are charged for city water to maintain the infrastructure they use, an analysis by Wildan Financial Services found.
The document was released during a Utilities Commission meeting Monday, and it outlined how much more it costs the city to maintain infrastructure for county residents than it does for city residents.
For example, on average the city spends $19.14 to provide 1,000 gallons to a county resident. But it spends $7.70 to provide the same amount of water to a city resident.
To find this average, the consultants broke out how much more the city spends on costs such as pumping, administration, and distribution for each group and divided by the number of gallons each group uses.
The consultants did not break out those residents who live in enclaves, or parts of the county that are surrounded by the city, said Mary Beth Miles, an assistant the city manager.
In January, Durango city councilors imposed a water-rate increase on county residents that was double what city residents had to pay. Later the councilors offered rebates because the rate increase for county residents was not based on hard numbers.
When the rate increases were put in place earlier this year, city residents saw their water bills increase from about $24 to about $33, if they used 7,000 gallons of water. In comparison, county residents saw their bills go up to about $66 from about $37 for the same amount of water.
The councilors requested this follow-up study to help guide their decision on the issue, and they will have to decide if they want to levy the higher county rates again.