Kuna City Council members Tuesday night set a date for a workshop on the city’s sewer assessment chart, also known as the “equivalent dwelling unit table,” or “EDU table.”
Council members will meet at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, March 20, just before the next council meeting.
The issue arose out of a dispute last year between the city of Kuna and now-Mayor Greg Nelson, the owner of Creekside, which houses the Creekside Lounge and Peregrine Steaks & Spirits, 751 W. Fourth St.
City records showed that at the time Creekside was built in 2005, no sewer assessment fee was paid. Rather, the building relied on sewer service based on two existing houses that were torn down to make way for the tavern and restaurant.
City officials last year determined that Creekside should have been assessed as many as 10 additional sewer and water connections based on the EDU table, which appears to have been used by the city since at least 2005. If assessed 10 additional connections, the bill would have been $36,600. In addition, the building is being assessed only two sewer connections on a monthly basis, amounting to $49.30 per month.
A consequent investigation by the city of Kuna found that commercial sewer assessments are “all over the board,” with some businesses paying for three, four, even five connections per month.
And because the businesses’ assessments are based on the EDU table, the assessments are not based on actual usage. The city’s investigation revealed that water usage had very little to do with a business’ monthly sewer bill, resulting in wide discrepancies among businesses.
City records show, for example, that one businesses using only 12,000 to 35,000 gallons of water per month is paying for five EDU’s, or $123.25, each month, while another businesses using as much as 75,000 to 134,000 gallons of water per month is paying for three EDU’s, or $73.95, each month.
Over five years, that’s a $3,000 difference in payments.
Further, it appears that the city shouldn’t be relying on the EDU table for ongoing assessments.
Kuna City Code, Title 7, chapter 6, section 3c, states, “All such connections shall be reevaluated following one full year of discharge and the connection fees and monthly user fees adjusted if appropriate.”
The city, however, has not been doing that re-evaluation, another topic of concern for City Council members.