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Water board delays vote on adding wholesale charges

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Updated: 4/19/2013 6:11 am

LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) -- It’s getting more expensive to deliver water and treat it, especially as Lake Mead levels continue to drop. That’s why Southern Nevada Water Authority will be charging local water utilities about $4.5 million.

The board wanted to learn more about the wholesale water charges so a vote was put off until next month’s SNWA board meeting.

But SNWA General Manager Pat Mulroy didn’t mince words when she addressed the board about the situation.

“The cost to treat will go up. The cost to pump will go up, the more the lake recedes, and I think that's a reality we need to very clearly need to have in front of us. And I don't ever want it said that I never warned you that this is exactly what it's going to look like.

There is still some sting from last year’s rate hike debacle that caused an uproar with small businesses.

This board is still cautious as the economy is still fragile.

“It is a sensitive subject these days and you'd have to be tone deaf to what's going on out there to what's going on out there if you don't realize it is,” said SNWA board member Bob Coffin.

One concern is that the public needed to be more informed about the issue, especially since down the road it could affect their water bill.

Brian McAnallen with the Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce wants to make sure the public is involved.    

“That that process is open, that it is fair, that is transparent and that the public has an opportunity to not only understand but ask questions and engage in that dialogue,” McAnallen said.

SNWA board member Steve Sisolak says it’s up to each municipality whether to raise water rates.

“Ultimately the person who turns on the tap at home and has water come out of it could potentially see a rate increase. That’s what we're very cognizant of,” Sisolak said.

Mulroy says increasing costs to local governments wouldn’t necessarily mean higher bills for you.

The wholesale water charge will come up for a vote again at the next SNWA meeting in May.

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