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Published October 01, 2012, 10:12 PM

Moorhead residents could pay more for their city's fire hydrants

Moorhead, MN (WDAY TV) - Moorhead residents could be looking at an increase in fees for fire hydrants in the city but it will take a change in the city charter to do it.

Moorhead, MN (WDAY TV) - Moorhead residents could be looking at an increase in fees for fire hydrants in the city but it will take a change in the city charter to do it.

There are just over 1,500 fire hydrants in the city of Moorhead. The city charter says that a $40 fee can be charged per year for each one. That brings in about $60,000. That works out to about $6 per year per household or 50 cents a month.

The way the charter reads right now, the city is the only one that can collect the hydrant fee but they use the Moorhead Public Service utility bill to collect the 50 cent a month fee. Moorhead Public Service then gives it to the city. The city then turns around and gives it right back to Moorhead Public Service. Under the new arrangement Moorhead Public Service would just collect the fee and keep it.

Mike Hulett, Ward 3 Moorhead City Council: “Yeah I can't imagine anyone on the council that would not want to get that language out of the charter.”

Mike Hulett 3rd ward council member is in favor of the switch but he failed to get support on a motion he made at the last meeting for the change.

Nancy Otto, 1st Ward Moorhead City Council: “We need to be concerned as a city if this comes out of the charter then what will the fee be and I believe we need a written agreement.”

A Water Survey by the utility shows that they are not charging enough to maintain the hydrant system especially from industrial users like Crystal Sugar that currently pay the same 50 cents as households.

Hulett: “If you look at the rate structure in the study that was done it is very reasonable for residential customers and others and much more fair than what we are doing now.”

Households in the city would see an increase to $1.80 per month over the next 8 years while industrial users would see an increase from 50 cents to $670 per month

Large businesses in Moorhead do pay a fire protection fee but that still does not cover the cost and the difference is made up in volume charges to all customers. The council has not decided when they will revisit the issue.

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