RV resort claims water rate hike will influence tourism

A customer session on the newest price application by Utilities Inc. of Central Nevada drew only about two dozen men and women to the county commissioners’ chambers Wednesday evening, possibly due to the fact UICN is not proposing an enhance to residential water rates this time.

It was a sharp contrast to three years ago, when the customer session drew about 200 individuals to the Nevada Treasure RV Resort convention center, there was even speak of taking over the utility soon after UICN requested a 78.six % increase in water revenue and 16.9 % boost in sewer income.

This time, residential customers will only be facing an increase in the month-to-month sewer charge from $ 41.84 to $ 49.98 if the Public Utilities Commission approves the request.

But industrial accounts will take a hit on water prices ranging from 36.17 % to 39.81 percent. Irrigation rates will go up 38 %.

James Horton, basic manager of Preferred RV Resort, said the water improve threatened his business and winter tourism in Pahrump overall. Preferred RV Resort has 270 RV web sites and 10 rental accommodations on 23 acres that is existed for 30 years. Horton also represented Wine Ridge RV Resort, which took more than the RV park at Pahrump Valley Winery, it has 160 RV sites and 14 cottages.

“Collectively, we represent a significant portion of the RV resort business right here in town, which is a significant aspect of not only tourism and visitation but also the snowbird kind economy that drives most of Pahrump. In our opinion, we think the increases as proposed, specifically on the water and sewer side, not only does it clearly affect Preferred RV and Wine Ridge, but we also believed it drastically endangers the quite fragile tourist economy right here in Pahrump,” Horton said.

He added, “If increases go via as proposed, it really only offers us the choice of either raising prices, or lowering the amenities the resort delivers or even possibly postponing upgrades.”

If Preferred RV Resort has to boost rates, Horton said it would threaten their competitive position with destinations in Arizona, California and Nevada destinations like Mesquite, Laughlin and Las Vegas.

“In terms of financial impact, Preferred RV Resort, our occupancy is down more than 20 % because 2007 and we’re seeking at what would equal virtually a $ 10,000 annual increase amongst the water and sewer charges. It is not far better for the Wine Ridge properties with an excess of $ 7,500 of the boost in water and sewer charges. Neither of these properties are able to absorb this enhance with out rising prices and putting tourism in danger,” Horton said.

Horton is also on the Pahrump tourism advisory board. He urged UICN to delay collecting litigation on the Willow Creek golf course situations. UICN seeks to recover $ 652,451 in the litigation up to March 29, 2012, that is offset partly by $ 162,550 the firm received from Jorei Enterprises.

The PUC in 2009 ordered Utilities Inc. to cover the equalization basin at the Willow Creek sewer plant, UICN Regional Director Wendy Barnett said. That plant has been the subject of odor complaints. That price $ 180,503, according to the UICN price filing.

UICN also spent $ 83,466 upgrading a lift station near Comstock Road and Blagg Road.

“It has been a source of odors for several, numerous years. We attempted a lot of things and even PUC engineers stated the scrubbers we installed at lift station three are 1 of the very best technologies,” Barnett said.

Apart from the odors, the wet effectively was corroding from the hydrogen sulfide gas, she said.

“We changed the way the intake pipe was configured so the hydrogen sulfide gas would not be released,” Barnett mentioned. It was the result of a conversation she had with a consumer. “We have kind of a motto right here, inform if you smell.”

UICN also upgraded a six-inch sewer principal from the downtown region of Pahrump, she mentioned, which became insufficient as Pahrump grew, to serve all the restaurants, hotels and gas stations.

UICN tried a $ 163,388 pilot program infusing oxygen and ozone into the sewer lines, Barnett said it reduced hydrogen sulfide 89.five percent in the lift station and 44 % at the sewer plant.

An additional $ 76,447 went to upgrade the video van.

UICN won’t ask to gather $ 410,387 in damages from the Blagg Road flooding in December 2010. UICN seeks to recover those costs in a suit against Corrections Corporation of America and particular contractors that’s scheduled for trial in July.

Gene McGrath, who has testified at preceding rate hearings, said when UICN decides to create these improvements no one approves it very first. Barnett mentioned these improvements are outlined in the integrated resource plan, a three-year plan, which has to be approved by the PUC. The business spent $ 303,690 to submit an integrated resource strategy, a new requirement by state law, it was approved in August 2011. Barnett mentioned the next program is due in March 2014.

Utilities Inc. Certified Public Accountant Terry Redman told McGrath the business was proposing a price of return of 8.9 % on investments.

Barnett told McGrath UICN will ask to collect $ 278,635 for extending 4,782 feet of water major and four,959 feet of sewer major to Ishani Ridge subdivision. That will serve the 4 residences on Kachina Moon Court, she said. Yet another handful of homeowners are awaiting service on the other side of the subdivision, Barnett mentioned the developer, Pahrump 88, nevertheless hasn’t devoted the infrastructure.

McGrath stated sewer prices are nonetheless going up 16.five %, he urged the organization to be sensitive to retired folks living on Social Security, pensions or investments.

Frank Birkanyi, who has spoken at previous rate hearings, asked to have the Bureau of Customer Protection at every meeting.

“Could you do away with this three year idiotic request that they have to present whatever they want to present, most probably for price increases? Do away with it,” Birkayni stated.

He complained sewer prices went up 270 percent given that Utilities Inc. acquired the system from Preferred Equities Corporation in 2002, what he known as the “crookedest business on the planet.”

“Why do we have to have a consumer advocate if you are searching out for us?” Gilbert Sheets asked, accusing the PUC of not hunting out for buyers.

Joan Cartier, a snowbird from Wisconsin, mentioned she and her husband have been coming to Pahrump for 14 years.

“We had been right here 4 and a half months. We employed to have our water shut off. They charged us $ 25 to shut it off, $ 25 to turn it back on. Then for seven and a half months, eight months, we never paid for a water bill due to the fact we didn’t use something. Final year we came right here and we have this $ 62 per month, no matter whether we shut it off or leave it on and this year it’s going to be $ 70.” Cartier stated. “It’s nearly $ 500 a year for not utilizing one particular drop of water or not employing the sewer at all.”

Dominic Juliano said he constructed a fourplex on Bourbon Street seven years ago that expense over $ 400,000 but today is only worth $ 145,000. Juliano stated he’s had a challenging time maintaining tenants.

“I’ve got to pay all the taxes, I’m paying water, the electric, I spend almost everything there. Nobody’s giving me a raise. What occurs with me? I lose nothing at all but funds. I can barely make the taxes this year and you guys are asking for a raise?” Juliano mentioned.

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