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Winter 2012/13 Newsletter

Welcome to Vista Vu Water Users Association's newsletter. Our purpose is to keep you informed about important activities and projects that your Board of Trustees is undertaking on your behalf. This edition of the Newsletter introduces our new rate structure and rate increases effective January 1st. 2013.

The Board regrets having to raise rates at a time when the local economy has not recovered from the recession of 2008. Unfortunately, factors outside our control have caused our costs, e.g. PUD rates, to increase and have suppressed the local housing market. When vacant lots begin to sell and new connections are installed, we will see our revenues increase. At that time we will revisit the rates and determine whether they might be reduced.

Board Adopts 2013 Irrigation and Domestic Rates

Beginning with your January 1 2013 billing cycle you will see changes in your domestic and irrigation water monthly rates. The new rates and the reasons behind them were presented to a Special Membership Meeting on Tuesday December 4th at the Omak Gun Club and were described in detail in the Special Bulletin distributed at the meeting.

Irrigation Rates

The PUD power rate increase this year erased the efficiencies we gained from the VFD on our big pump. The budget balanced at the end of 2012, but we had no breakdowns or major servicing expenses during the irrigation season, luck that cannot be expected to last much longer. A 13.4% increase in KWh charges in 2013 will necessitate a reversal of the $5/ac/year rate reduction you saw this year, plus a further $10/ac/year increase to $160/ac/year. For a 5.25 ac water right the 2013 monthly rate will be $70, up from the present $63.44. Current billing practices will continue with monthly or annual billing options available to members.

Domestic Rates

Starting Jan 1st 2013 we will move to monthly domestic billing for all members. The new "base rate" of $55/month will be billed in advance, entitling members to 5,000 gallons of water per month, or 167 gals/day. Usage over 5,000 will move you into the 1st Tier with charges of $2/1,000 gals/month up to 7,500 gals. Rates increase by $1/1,000 gals. as each tier is reached. In Tier 5 usage over 30,000 gals per month will cost you $6/1,000 gals.

The tiered rate charges will be billed one month in arrears based on the previous month's meter reading. For billing during the three worst winter months when snow and cold temperatures make the meters difficult to access, we will use the December metered usage. When the meters are first read in the Spring adjustments in billed versus actual usage will appear on your April billing statement.

For most members each month's Domestic bill will be different because of variations in your metered usage. Consequently it will not be feasible to use ACH payments through your bank. Perhaps after we've had a year's experience with the new billing system it will be possible to adopt a "budget plan" such as the one the PUD offers, where you would pay the same amount every month based on your average monthly consumption over the preceding year. Any under- or over-usage would be adjusted at the end of the year.

Infrastructure Fee

Mandated by conditions in our amended DWSRF loan agreement, the current $10 infrastructure fee will increase by $5 per buildable lot per month to $15. As is now the case, the fee will be billed a month in advance.

January 2013 Billing

Due to your Treasurer's Holiday travel schedule, you will not receive your January bills until after January 7th. The "due date" will be adjusted accordingly.

Domestic System Chlorination Underway

To extend the life of the adsorption media in our arsenic removal system, we are adding chlorine to the water coming in from the well. Most of the chlorine is used up in the adsorption process, but about 0.5 parts per million remains in the water. To put this in perspective, the maximum concentration of chlorine allowed in drinking water by the Environmental Protection Agency is 4.0 parts per million - eight times more than what will normally be in your tap water.

If you have questions about chlorination or any water quality concerns contact our System Manager, Doug Hale, at Alpine Environmental.

Bob Goodwin
Vista Vu Water Users Association

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For further information contact: Stu Skidmore, President; Doug Marsh, Vice President;
Bob Goodwin
, Secretary/Treasurer; Jack Crane, Trustee; or, Dean Harrison, Trustee.

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