There was no community sewer system in northern Morgan County until 1990. Before then sewage was treated by individual septic systems, a number of which began to fail because some of the soils in the Mountain Green community are not sufficiently porous. The situation prompted the Morgan County Government to declare a moratorium on new construction in the Mountain Green area and in 1976 the County created the Mountain Green Sewer Improvement District under what is now Utah Code Title 17B. As an Independent Special Service District, it has the power to own property, establish sanitary sewer system regulations, impose a sewer tax on properties within the boundaries of the District, set the sewer impact fee for new construction, and require a monthly service fee for homes and businesses served by the sewer system.
The Sewer Improvement District (SID or District) is governed by a seven-member Board of Trustees. Board members are elected for terms of four years. For over twelve years, from 1976 to 1989, a number of community leaders serving on the Board struggled to gain support of home owners, obtain construction financing, procure a suitable treatment site and create a system design that would serve the existing community and allow renewed development within the area. Many homeowners and some landowners resisted the efforts because their septic systems were working well and were already paid for. Thus, the proposed sewer system would be a relatively high immediate cost with relatively low immediate benefits. Residents in one part of the community even sponsored litigation to remove their 60-plus homes from the District entirely. Many of the same home seek service currently.
Finally, by 1989, financing had been arranged, a treatment plant site had been procured, a system design had been approved, a sufficient number of homeowners had agreed, and construction began. The system design drawings dated February 1989 carry the names of these community leaders:
|Ron Lawson - Chairman||Dennis McBride - Member|
|Harold Thompson - Treasurer||George Pate - Member|
|John Lemke - Attorney||Curtis Williams - Member|
|John Kartchner - Secretary||Steve Hopkin - Member|
By late winter of 1989/90 the system was essentially operational and billing began in June, 1990. The original system cost was over $2,500,000 in 1989 dollars or about $4,350,000 in 2010 dollars. The Board obtained over $1,700,000 (68% of the total) in Federal, State and County funding and procured a twenty-year, zero-interest loan of $570,000 (23% of the total) from the State. There were about 200 initial subscriptions in the community of $900 each ($180,000 or 7% of the total) that had been reduced to encourage immediate participation in the project. Thus, the cost to build the system amounted to about $12,600 per residence then being served, while the homeowner was required to pay only $900 initially (about $1600 in 2010 dollars)
The original system design was conservatively estimated to have capacity to serve a population of 2,500 persons. At the Mountain Green average of 3.75 persons per household, that equates to about 667 equivalent residential units (ERUs). Thus, the cost to build the system amounted to about $3,800 (about $6,600 in 2010 dollars) for each of the 667 ERUs capacity. After 25 years of operation, we have long passed the original design capacity, most recently having over 950 ERUs connected.
When it became clear that several large residential developments would rapidly consume the design capacity of the original system, the Board negotiated a financial arrangement with the major developers by which they agreed to provide advance funding for system expansion to accommodate wastewater from their developments. The advance funding is in the amount equal to the impact fees for all the lots in their subdivisions, and as the impact fees are paid for individual lots, the developers are incrementally reimbursed for the advance funding. Thus it is through the cooperation of far-sighted developers that the design capacity of the system has been increased to the current 1800 ERUs at no additional cost to existing homeowners.
The impact fee for new connections was $3,456 from 2002 through 2013, and increased to $5,271 in 2014 in order to accumulate funds to construct a membrane bioreactor (MBR) system to replace the complete aeration system now in use and meet state requirements to remove phosphorus and nitrogen before introduction into the Weber River as well as increase capacity to 3,281 ERUs.
The monthly service fee in 1990 was $24.50 (about $47.50 in 2015 dollars) and was reduced to $23 in July of 1996 where it remained for ten years, when increasing costs made it necessary to increase the monthly fee to $28 in July, 2006. At the Public Hearing on December 2014, the Board of Trustees a Rate Study showed that the District should be charging about $45 per month in order to cover operating costs, depreciation and replacement costs, and to save towards the service upgrade to meet the state mandate to remove Phosphorus and Nitrogen from the effluent by the year 2020. The Board determined that a jump in the rates from $28 per month to $45 per month would be too drastic and therefore approved five years of stepped incrEases that would be reviewed annually. Those approved monthly rates will go into effect on the first day of each year as follows: 2015=$36, 2016=$38, 2017=$40, 2018=$42, 2019=$44. Proceeds from these service fees are used to pay administration and operations expenses, depreciation for replacement of aging equipment, to build reserves for emergency expenses and to save for the existing resident's portion (service upgrade) of the new bio-membrane plant that will be built in the next decade.
2020 Update: The board has now been changed to a 5 memeber board and the current Capital Faclities plan recommends a Bio-Nutrian Reactor instead of the BMR above. Based on the Sunrise report the Impact fee is 5685.20 and the monthly fee will be $50/month begining in 2021.
The Mountain Green Sewer Improvement District is a public entity and its financial records, operational procedures and Board meeting minutes are open for public review. Janet, our nice secretary, is in the office from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm, Monday through Thursday. Call 801-876-3416 to schedule a review or a facility walk-through.