City ordinance doesn’t address resale of bulk waterThe Dickinson City Commission recently passed an ordinance requiring a permit for those looking to sell bulk water and the new system will have increased rates, beginning March 1.
The Dickinson City Commission recently passed an ordinance requiring a permit for those looking to sell bulk water and the new system will have increased rates, beginning March 1.
City Attorney Matt Kolling said the ordinance establishes a system where anyone operating a bulk water vendor is required to obtain a permit from the city and pay a water vendor rate.
The ordinance defines a bulk water vendor as one who is connected to the city’s water distribution system and transfers water mainly for purposes other than ordinary household, personal or commercial use, specifically including water trucks filling for agricultural or industrial use.
But, the ordinance does not address the resale of bulk water.
“One of the items that may not be addressed in the ordinance … is that the resale of water once it’s been purchased from the city is not included,” said City Administrator Shawn Kessel. “That is something that we do want to limit and that would be a condition of permit approval — would be that any entity that we grant a permit to would not be able to resell the water once purchased.”
Kessel said to the city’s knowledge there are presently no “violations.”
“But it certainly is something in the future that we want to have the ability to restrict so if there was a violation after they’ve obtained a permit we could revoke the permit,” Kessel said.
In addition to the newly adopted ordinance, the commission also approved a new rate scale for bulk water.
Presently, the city fee schedule sets the bulk water rate at $15 per 1,000 gallons, Kolling said.
The newly adopted resolution calls for a charge of $5 per 1,000 gallons for the first 25,000 gallons in a 30 day period, then $16.50 per 1,000 gallons for any gallons above 25,000 in a 30-day period, according to the ordinance.
“The thought process behind this is we have some users of the bulk water vendor who are agricultural customers who have used the city’s bulk water vendor for some period of time and we do not want to negatively impact them so it was determined a usage rate under 25,000 gallons in a 30-day period would be sufficient to meet their needs, but still capture those water users who are using well in excess of 25,000 gallons per month,” Kolling said.
One city commissioner felt the newly adopted rate may not be high enough.
City Commissioner Rod Landblom said when the rates were discussed last fall, he felt they were too low and asked for justification on the new rate as he continues to feel they are low.
Kessel said a phone call to Watford City, who also operates a water vendor, indicated the city moved from $15 to $16.50 as of Jan. 1.
“Certainly at $16.50 that is a rate that’s in the market,” Kessel said. “It’s at the low end of the market but nevertheless it is a market-based rate.”
Kolling said the ordinance is “intended” to apply to the city’s water vendor in addition to two private companies operating their own vendor stations in or near the city — Missouri Basin Well Service, Inc. and Hamm & Phillips Service Co.
David Wanner, a tri-owner of Missouri Basin, said the company opened a temporary, private vendor just off of Highway 10 shortly before Thanksgiving.
While the permanent one will be in a similar location, the present one has saved the company an “unreal” amount of time on filling its water trucks.
Wanner said having a private water vendor allows the company to easily double the amount of trucks it can fill.
“It’s just been a blessing for us,” Wanner said. “Instead I’d be sitting six, seven (trucks) deep.”
Kessel said city officials are exploring the option of adding an additional water vendor or relocating the one presently situated on Broadway Street.
“Our concern with that location is bringing all of those trucks in the city, the harm it does to our streets and the traffic it creates,” Kessel said.
But, he says there is a flip-side to having the vendor and the possibility of an additional.
“There is a revenue gain that might allow us to pay for city projects and not put it on the back of our citizens,” Kessel said. “If we are able to collect money from our water vendor, that could minimize the rates to charge for wastewater treatment upgrades.”