Local News

Tusayan May Send Water Takeover Plan To The Voters: Study Says Rates And Costs Would Be Substantial

July 26, 2021

The Tusayan Town Council may put the purchase of the water company Hydro Resources to a vote. The council directed staff to look into the idea at the July 14th meeting. Mayor Clarinda Vail voted against the idea. Councilman Greg Brush did not cast a vote as his Zoom signal was lost prior to the vote. Vice Mayor Brady Harris along with Council Members Becky Wirth and Robb Baldosky voted yes. July 14 2021 Council Meeting

The question of a price is still up in the air but an October 2020 report commissioned by Tusayan values the water company at between $500,000 and $2 million. However the same report from Carollo Engineering says it would cost millions more to bring Hydro up to municipal standards and it could lead to substantial increases in water rates. The report states:

“The capital cost of upgrading the Hydro water system to a stand-alone utility that meets municipal standards is $7,150,000 in addition to the purchase price of the utility. Funding this capital cost would increase water utility rates by 73 percent.”

Vice Mayor Harris says the idea has been floated for years and an election would bring some finality to the matter. He also says acquisition of the water system could help the town “…control its own destiny when it comes to water.”

Given the costs involved and the potential impact on water rates, Mayor Vail is against the acquisition. She said state law does not allow towns to subsidize water systems and such a system has to be self-sustaining.