Safford City Council Set To Vote On Water Rate Increase

July 23, 2013

People who live in Safford and Graham County could see their water rates increase this week. The area is dealing with a 10 year drought that forced the eastern Arizona community to start mandatory water rationing, but the demand still exceeds water supplies.

Safford City Souncil is ready to vote on a proposal Wednesday that would raise water rates by 5 percent to 7 percent for most consumers, but heavy water users could see their rates increase by 70 percent according to Safford Mayor Chris Gibbs. He said the severe drought has dried up seven of the city’s 11 wells, and the city started mandatory rationing last year that includes fines for violators. 

Gibbs said the rate increase is needed to pay for maintenance of Safford’s water system. 

“Unfortunately as you ask people to conserve they are using less so your revenues drop because of that, so we’ve got to have a rate increase during conservation and the drought, so that we can come up with revenues high enough to cover the costs,” said Gibbs.

People who live in the community of Thatcher near Safford would also see their water rates go up an additional 10 percent. Customers who get water from Safford in unincorporated parts of Graham County would have their rates increased an additional 25 percent. The new water prices would go into effect immediately under an emergency order. 

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