City considers limiting water salesDickinson officials are contemplating designating the city as the sole seller of bulk water and if a proposed ordinance passes, those deemed to be placing the city’s water allotment in danger could be penalized or cut off.
Dickinson officials are contemplating designating the city as the sole seller of bulk water and if a proposed ordinance passes, those deemed to be placing the city’s water allotment in danger could be penalized or cut off.
City commissioners gave a preliminary OK to the ordinance during a meeting at City Hall Sept. 7 and it is up for final passage Monday during a 5:15 p.m. meeting.
“We hope that we never have to enact such a limitation, but considering our growth and the type of water that is required for the industries in our area we envision that that might happen and it would be terrible to jeopardize our residents and existing businesses,” City Administrator Shawn Kessel said.
The city is capped at 6 million gallons per day from Southwest Water Authority, City Attorney Matt Kolling said.
The ordinance, however, does not specify a limit, but rather when a single user is jeopardizing the water usage for the rest of the community, the issue would be addressed at that time, either by asking the customer to stop using or limit their use by providing a limit at that time, Kessel said.
“It is something that we want to have the ability to shut off a water customer if it does endanger the rest of the city or the rest of the city’s ability to access Southwest Water,” Kolling said.
City Commissioner Rod Landblom had concerns whether the city was the sole provider would cause problems.
“It’s well within the city’s rights to enact such an ordinance, yes,” Kolling said.
Dickinson City commissioners approved a change in the rate charged for bulk water at the city water vendor on Broadway, moving from $5 per 1,000 gallons to $15 per 1,000 gallons. The new rate takes effect Oct. 1.
The city purchases water from SWA for $3.17 per 1,000 gallons and charges non-bulk users $4.17 per 1,000 gallons.
“What we have discovered since that time is there are private companies who are attempting to take advantage of the difference in water rate increase and attempting to operate private water vendors to take advantage of the $4 per 1,000-gallon rate that the city charges for non-water vendor use,” Kolling said.
Water meters are provided by the city and during a recent installation of one for Hamm & Phillips Service Co., the city was informed the meter was going to be used for filling oilfield water trucks, “in other words, bypassing our water vendor,” Kessel said.
Kessel said the company had the meter installed to avoid lines at the city vendor, where trucks can wait hours to fill.
“They didn’t say they were going to sell it privately but it got us to thinking that’s the next transition, you know, that’s the next step,” Kessel said.
If the ordinances passes, three things will occur — the city will be the bulk water provider and the liquids cannot be resold, limits would be placed on the amount of water a single user can use and a tiered payment system would be enacted.
“When they reach a certain level of water use then they get charged the same fee that we charge at our water vendor,” Kessel said. “What we did is we took the highest user of water in our city, provided a cushion for that user in case there’s growth and then established an amount and said, ‘Anyone who uses more water than that gets charged this $15-per-1,000 (gallons) rate.’ ”
The city’s largest water user is a mobile home park on the south side.