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Water fund is biggest budget item

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Photo by Hank Lohmeyer Orchard City's one-million-gallon water tank at Eckert is one of the domestic water utility's components that will become part of a global positioning system survey this summer. Water lines, various valves and other components will

Orchard City's water fund is the largest of the town's budget funds.

For 2017, an amount of just over $1 million in expenditures has been budgeted for the fund's operations and maintenance programs.

The main project for 2017 is the global positioning system (GPS) survey of the entire water system.

The water department collects, treats and delivers fresh mountain spring water to Orchard City water customers. The water fund is an enterprise fund which means that it is not supported by taxes and its fees and revenues are designed to cover expenses.

The water fund's operating expenses are adequately covered by its operating revenues (monthly charges). However, when capital projects are added, it becomes difficult to support all of the projects that are needed with user fees only.

Capital revenue such as tap fees are designed to pay for capital projects such as plant expansion, water storage and replacement of water lines. However, tap fee revenue can be varied.

All revenue from tap fees and sales go into the water capital construction fund. This fund was created to receive the revenue generated by the $5 per month fee that was added to water bills beginning in the fall of 2009.

This fund is strictly a water capital projects fund. This means that it will receive funds for capital projects and show the expenditures on capital projects for the town's water system.

The major projects budgeted in this fund in 2017 are the following: new pressure regulating valve installation at Highway 65 and Hamilton Road costing $200,000; T Road pressure regulating valve replacement at $30,000; the cost sharing of upgrading materials per the private pipeline replacement program as adopted by resolution in 2011 budgeted at $6,000.

Since the program's inception, the town has taken over and helped five private pipeline companies. According to information from town hall, there are still 34 private pipeline companies served with Orchard City domestic water. The 34 companies range in size from a handful of taps to 49 on one private system. In total they comprise 242 individual taps.

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