Taylor city council declined to make a decision at their April 12 meeting on the matter related to the city’s enjoining with the Southwest Water Authority’s planned water tank.

The Southwest Water Authority proposed that Taylor take part in the construction and use of the suspended holding tank or water tower, which the city council gave SWA permission to build within city limits, but the matter remains under consideration.

According to Engineer Jim Lennington of Bartlett and West Engineering firm, offers for bids will commence, leaving the council a final month to finalize their decision.

“We are working on plans and specifications for the water tower...within a month, we’re going to be advertising for bids...it probably would not finish until the spring, early summer of 2022,” Lennington said.

Engineer Jim Lennington reads off a matrix detailing the city's options regarding the water tower. (M.C. Amick/The Dickinson Press)
Engineer Jim Lennington reads off a matrix detailing the city's options regarding the water tower. (M.C. Amick/The Dickinson Press)

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Lennington said Taylor could pick from one of five different options, including a Southwest Pipeline Project contract which would not involve any infrastructure improvements and result in no additional costs to the city.

However, Mayor Emory Vaagen highlighted concern with city water pressure under the current system which would not be fixed under the first proposal by the Southwest Water Authority.

Vaagen elaborated on the current pressure issues, noting that electric pumps often stop producing during power outages.

“The tower would fix that because the drop of the water (pressure), the way that the water will create the pressure through the water system,” Vaagen said.

Vaagen said not having what SWA called “fire flows” is really a non-issue due to the city having sufficient equipment.

“We’re talking about a 50,000 gallon increase, if we were to go with fire flow...they are gonna put up a six inch (fire hydrant) right up by their tower which would allow our tanker to go out there and refill way faster than anything we’ve got,” Vaagen said. “My personal feelings are it (fire flows) isn’t worth it. We have just shy of 10,000 gallons sitting in the fire hall right now.”

An option for adding fire flows is expected to cost the city a substantial amount of money, though no specifics were disclosed.

In the tank enjoinment proposal, the city would have to pay the costs associated with a portion of the tank’s installation cost — around $300,000 with an additional $150,000 for a meter pit around the tank site.

During the previous meeting on the issue, City Councilwoman Melissa Gjermundson read a document from Southwest Water Authority which she interpreted as indicating residents would be individual SWA customers and wouldn’t pay their bills to the city of Taylor.

Documents from the SWA’s suggests that residents would only pay the water authority if the city chooses the “SWPP Individual Rural Water Connections” option, which would leave the responsibility of each structure to its owners or residents from the meter pit to the structure’s system. According to the documents from SWA, costs would be an estimated $3,000 to $4,000, plus an additional $1,500 sign up fee.

Under this proposal water rates are projected to increase substantially in 2021, consisting of a $50 minimum, plus $6.36 per 1,000 gallons used.

No final determination was made at the council meeting and the three options remain under consideration. The City of Taylor will make its decision on May 10 at 6:00 p.m. Residents are invited to attend and let their voices be heard regarding this project.