BY GUARDIAN READER JJ
In an under-reported action by the Idaho Public Utilities Commission on October 7th 2015, the PUC will allow responsibility for maintenance and replacement of Boise fire hydrants to shift from the City to United Water.
In their ruling the PUC expressed concern that the shift could result in higher water rates for Boise customers and the PUC suggested that since the City of Boise receives a 3% United Water Franchise Fee, with revenue of about $1M, “more than two and one half times the City’s $450,000 hydrant maintenance and replacement budget” that perhaps the City needs to reduce their franchise fee to offset the increased water costs to maintain equity with customers.
The City apparently responded how inappropriate it was for the PUC to suggest the City reduce its franchise fee. So the City currently spends $450,000 per year for this service, and United Water will spend $765,000 per year to perform this same service. Will the City be reducing the franchise fee citizens pay since the City is no longer responsible for hydrant maintenance?
The City needs to do the right thing, and reduce the franchise fee to correspond with the reduced responsibilities and cost transfer. Otherwise citizens of Boise are paying twice. You can read the PUC decision HERE.
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