Las Vegas Sun

September 23, 2014

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Commercial property owners to receive credit for fire-line charges

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Steve Marcus

Pat Mulroy, general manager of the Southern Nevada Water Authority, is shown during an editorial board meeting at the Las Vegas Sun offices in Henderson, Jan. 18, 2012.

Commercial property owners in the Las Vegas Valley Water District were granted $44 million in relief Tuesday through a promised credit for all businesses hooked up to fire-emergency water lines.

Dozens of businesses owners complained bitterly to the district board that with fire-line charges increases 200 to 300 percent from new rate hikes that went into effect in April, they would go out of business.

Beginning in September, those businesses will receive roughly 50 percent credits on the fire-line surcharge.

Pat Mulroy, head of the Water District, said her staff worked with business leaders and Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak, finally coming up with a plan to decrease the cost of water to those businesses. The Las Vegas Water District is one of seven districts that purchase water from the Southern Nevada Water Authority, which acts as a water wholesaler.

Mulroy said analysts discovered that because the new water surcharges went into effect a few months earlier than expected, and the Southern Nevada Water Authority received good rates on bond sales, the Water Authority – which she also heads – had $44 million in unexpected revenue. The plan was then devised to provide the relief to commercial property owners.

The credit will last for three years or until a committee that was established to look at different ways of covering the Water Authority’s debt comes up with a new plan.

The Water Authority is stuck with $3.3 billion in debt, accumulated from various construction projects, including the $800 million third intake into Lake Mead, which is considered a fail-safe if the lake level falls below the level of two other intakes.

The Water Authority board unanimously approved the water-credit plan.

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