Eagle Mountain City has been working to find solutions to supply chain issues related to water meter transmitters.  

The devices, used to digitally capture water utility usage in the city, can malfunction due to construction, soil acidity and the age of the device.  

“We obviously don’t want any broken transmitters,” says Eagle Mountain Utilities Manager Mack Straw. “Due to supply chain shortages, replacing them has become difficult.”  

For the past six years, Eagle Mountain has been installing the Sensus IPearl ¾ inch or 1-inch smart point radio transmitter. Supply chain shortages, combined with the pace of Eagle Mountain’s housing growth, has limited the number of repairs to malfunctioning devices over the past two years.  

“Ideally, as a city, you want to minimize these occurrences,” says Straw. “Instead, it has been quite difficult to resolve the issue due to circumstances outside our control.” 

As a result, some residents may have noticed potential inaccuracies on their water utility bills, or a relatively sizeable, corrected amount due on their bill following a manual water meter reading.  

In response, Eagle Mountain City has sent meter technicians to manually read thousands of water meters in the past year. Water meter readers correctly capture the water used, but malfunctioning transmitters can result in an inaccurate electronic read.  

“We want to ensure accuracy,” says Eagle Mountain City Finance Director Kimberly Ruesch. “If residents have a concern, we are always willing to review their billing statements and re-read meters when needed.” 

Due to Eagle Mountain’s naturally acidic soil, construction, or battery issues, about 10% of the smart point readers are inoperable in the community. 

Knowing when meters have malfunctioned, however, has become a key aspect of focus for Eagle Mountain City. Currently, bills that meet certain criteria are flagged for manual readings to ensure accuracy and check the smart point readers for proper functioning.  

In the past, the volume of meter misreads disallowed the City to manually inspect it within the billing period. In these cases, an average bill amount has been applied and accurate billing information is applied when a meter technician is available to reach a property at a later date.  

“The City is looking into options to resolve these matters,” says City Administrator Paul Jerome. “We don’t want to return to the 1990s, but given supply chain shortages, other methods such as hiring a manual meter reader may be the most efficient method of resolving this for residents.” 

Eagle Mountain City indicated that if supply chain issues persist, and growth of new building continues to slow, replacing all malfunctioning smart point radio transmitters may still take 18 months. 

The accuracy of meter readings in general has become a cause of concern for some Eagle Mountain City residents. On the Eagle Mountain City Citizens Facebook page, several residents recently pointed out the volume of water usage and the associated cost of the bill.  

“When smart points begin to fail, the read being sent is lower than the actual read,” says Ruesch. “In most cases what residents are noticing is an adjusted amount once a manual read has taken place to true up their billing for water that has been used but not billed yet.” 

While pointing out the vast majority of bills do not have meters with faulty transmitters, Eagle Mountain City encourages residents to review their monthly statements to ensure an added layer of accuracy and to minimize the occurrence of inaccuracy.  

“What we’re finding is that economic factors outside of our control are clashing with the growth of Eagle Mountain,” says Ruesch. 

In the interim, Eagle Mountain City’s Water Department has committed to manually reading all the malfunctioning transmitters to ensure high-quality service for consumers.  

If residents are concerned about the accuracy of their utility bills, they may contact the City’s Utility Billing office at 801-789-6609 or utilitybilling@emcity.org.  

Eagle Mountain residents are asked to stop fertilizing their lawns beginning Nov. 15 and not resume fertilizing until March 1.

Larry Diamond, storm drain supervisor for Eagle Mountain City, explains the dangers of fertilizing lawns during this time of year.

“The lawn is not going to use the fertilizer,” says Diamond of the cold weather seasons. “It’s just going to all flow downstream and then go down into the Tickville Wash where it eventually makes its way into the lake.”

If a resident fertilizes during the winter when the ground is hard or frozen, the lawn will not gain any nutrients, according to Diamond. Instead, the fertilizer will be washed into storm drains by wind and snow which can have a detrimental impact on wildlife and water quality.

Experts have identified that among the primary culprits of harmful algal blooms plaguing Utah Lake are Nitrogen and Phosphorus, the two main ingredients in common lawn fertilizer.

“Stormwater runoff and groundwater leaching can carry excess fertilizer into our waterways and eventually into the rivers and lakes,” says Diamond. “Once there, the nutrients in fertilizer support the excessive growth of phytoplankton and algae in the lakes.”

According to Diamond, this process is called “eutrophication.”

Eutrophication can negatively impact the lake’s ecosystem in many ways by creating low dissolved oxygen conditions, making the water more turbid, leading to declines in seagrass and changing the types of animals and plants that inhabit the waters.

The Utah Department of Environmental Quality (UDEQ) detected harmful algae in pockets of high concentration at several locales around Utah Lake. Recreationists are discouraged from swimming, water skiing, or even boating in these areas.

According to UDEQ, toxins produced by harmful algal blooms can lead to gastrointestinal illness, skin irritation, or even liver, neurological, or respiratory problems in extreme cases.

Harmful algal blooms typically occur in late summer and early fall when recreationists are still enjoying the water and can therefore be considered a threat to health and safety.

By avoiding fertilizing in the fall and winter, Eagle Mountain residents can help prevent algal blooms in Utah Lake during peak recreation seasons.

Diamond says that the City’s Storm Water department has plans to track the nitrogen and phosphorus and the total amount of dissolved solids that find their way into Tickville Wash so they can see exactly how much pollution Eagle Mountain contributes to the lake.

The Storm Water department will use this information to adjust its public outreach & education efforts to best suit the needs of the community.

In addition to ceasing fertilization during the colder months, Eagle Mountain residents can also help reduce the city’s impact on lake pollution by fertilizing responsibly during the spring and summer.

“Any fertilizer that’s landed in hard landscapes, like on the road and concrete and on the sidewalk, the driveways, should be swept up and disposed of,” explains Diamond.

Fertilizer that is left on the sidewalk, or in the road, can be easily washed down the storm drain. For this reason, Diamond also discourages residents from fertilizing during, or before, heavy rainfall.

“That also creates sheet flow and then will just run all the fertilizer off into the storm drain system and then dump it into the Tickville Wash and surrounding bodies of water,” says Diamond.

Fertilizing during the winter is also not in a resident’s best financial interest.

Since the ground is too hard for the lawn to gain benefits from the fertilizer, residents are not only flushing harmful chemicals down the storm drains, but the cost associated with it as well.

The Utah County Sheriff’s Office Eagle Mountain division wants residents to have the information necessary to understand traffic and speeding enforcement.

Eagle Mountain City perennially contracts its law enforcement services through the Sheriff’s Office. This is done to improve efficiency and for a cost savings to Eagle Mountain residents.

Sgt. Spencer Cannon, public information officer for the Utah County Sheriff’s Office, answered several questions pertaining to speeding enforcement in Eagle Mountain.

Do officers with the UCSO have a quota they must meet for citations given?

Several residents in Eagle Mountain and other areas of Utah County have wondered if officers are required to give out a certain number of traffic citations each month.

“No, there’s not,” says Cannon. “In fact, …it’s against the law to give quotas.”

Sgt. Cannon says there is not a requirement or a limit on how many tickets an officer can administer, provided officers are not issuing tickets to motorists who did not commit any violations.

Instead of providing officers with a quota, the Utah County Sheriff’s Office expects its deputies to handle their responsibilities in order of highest priority. A deputy’s first priority should be responding to any ongoing calls that require law enforcement’s attention. According to Cannon, these calls could be any number of scenarios, such as a burglary, public disturbance or an automobile accident.

“When they don’t have those kinds of things that they’re responding to, they’re supposed to spend time out and about being visible, driving through areas,” says Cannon.

He says that it is the hope of the Utah County Sheriff’s Office that if more officers can spend time in the visibility of the public, it will encourage more people to slow down and drive cautiously.

“Ultimately, we think people ought to follow the traffic laws because it’s the right thing to do,” says Cannon. “But if they’re not going to do it because that’s the right thing to do, let’s have them slow down because they’re afraid of getting caught.”

In a study conducted out of Louisiana State University Medical Center, researchers found that physical police presence is the most effective strategy of speed reduction. The study showed that even the presence of an unmanned police vehicle reduced the number of motorists exceeding the speed limit by more than 30%.

“You know, I’ve been a cop for 32 years. When I’m driving down the road and I see a cop, I get nervous,” says Sgt. Cannon.

Are incidents of excessive speeding increasing?

Eagle Mountain residents have been made aware of a few isolated incidents of excessive speeding on local roadways, with three in the past two months.

In September, a driver was stopped for exceeding the speed limit by 60 mph on SR-73. In October, one motorist was stopped for driving 56 mph over the limit on Eagle Mountain Blvd. and another for going 39 mph over on Ranches Pkwy.

Sgt. Cannon says these events are not necessarily increasing in frequency but depend on the time of day and whether the motorist is aware of police presence.

“I would have a sense that we probably aren’t seeing an increase as much as we are just catching a few more right now,” says Cannon.

Cannon says that motorists are more likely to speed during rush hour when trying to make it to work on time or in certain remote areas where fewer cars may be on the road.

The Utah County Sheriff’s Office seeks to mitigate these incidents by spending extra time in areas where excessive speeding has shown to be a problem.

Cannon says that if officers dedicate “some extra time making traffic stops and writing tickets, then those kinds of violations tend to go away, for at least a short time.”

For Fiscal Year 2023, Eagle Mountain City allocated additional funds to the Sheriff’s Office in Eagle Mountain to hire three additional deputies.

Can a driver have their car impounded for excessive speeding?

A motorist can have their car impounded for several reasons, such as street racing or driving under the influence. In cases of excessive speeding, however, it is up to the officer who makes the citation.

“In my experience, if I have somebody that’s doing 121 mph in a 65 mph zone, I’m going to impound their car for expedition of speed,” says Cannon.

In the cases of the recent speeding incidents, Sgt. Cannon was not able to comment on why the motorists’ cars were not impounded as he did not have adequate relevant information.

What are the numbers for this year?

As of mid-October, the Utah County Sheriff’s Office had made 4,412 traffic stops, with 560 of those stops in September of this year.

Between Jan. 1 and Oct. 10, 2022, 116 DUI arrests were made in Utah County, with 13 of those arrests in September.

2,057 citations have been issued so far this year, with about half pertaining to more than one violation. The total number of traffic violations to date for 2022 is 3,386.

Important Information for residents

For crimes in progress and life-threatening emergencies, dial 911.

Individuals who would like to report crimes not in progress or request domesticated animal control services, residents should contact the Sheriff’s non-emergency dispatch at (801) 794-3970.

With winter having arrived somewhat early, it’s a good time to remind residents that vehicles must be moved off the road so the snowplows can clear the roads quickly and efficiently for safe travel.

“As our winter storms arrive, please be mindful of the weather outlook and allow extra time for travel,” says Zac Hilton, Streets Department Manager. “Drive cautiously when roads are slick. Be patient with other drivers. Your safety is important to us.”

It is unlawful to park vehicles, trailers, or other property constituting obstructions to traffic on the streets of Eagle Mountain City from Nov. 1 to March 15 of the succeeding year whenever snow accumulates on streets in the city. [Eagle Mountain Municipal Code 10.10.050]

“When you are driving and see snowplows in the area, please give them right-of-way, as needed, so they can do their job,” says Hilton. “As you follow behind, the road will be in better condition for your drive.”

During snowstorms, the City’s Streets Department operates as many as 10 snowplows of varying sizes, removing snow and salting roads around the clock if necessary. They plow around 225 miles of road in Eagle Mountain during the winter season.

Road priorities

SR-73 is maintained by the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT).

The City strives to maintain safe traction for vehicles. Due to the high cost of snow and ice removal, dry pavement should not be expected on all streets in all storms. Eagle Mountain City has five snowplow trucks with salt spreaders. Streets are plowed and salted in order of priority.

PRIORITY 1 – Arterial roads (Eagle Mountain Blvd, Ranches Parkway, and Pony Express Parkway)

PRIORITY 2 – Collector roads, school zones, hills and curves

PRIORITY 3 – Residential, alleyways, cul-de-sacs (please be aware cul-de-sacs are salted instead of plowed due to space limitations)

PRIORITY 4 – Unimproved roads

During severe storms, the Streets Department may only get to the first priority streets as those roads must remain as clear as possible.

Second and third priority will get cleared, however it may take a couple of days after a large storm or during extreme cold. Clearing may be postponed if unseasonal warmth is expected following soon after a storm.

For questions or concerns regarding the snowplow policy please contact the City’s Streets Department at streets@emcity.org.

Snowplows have names

Keep your eye out for the City’s snowplows because they have names. The names are located on the plow – Slush Puppy, Old Salty, Plowasaurus Rex, Snow Way Jose, Blizzard Wizard, Plowy McPlowface and Scrapes of Wrath.

Sidewalks

Homeowners are responsible for snow and ice removal on sidewalks and driveways. No snow or ice should be removed from private property and placed on the nearby roadways.

In addition, the street plowing process may create a build-up of snow in front of driveways. It would be neither cost nor time effective for city snowplow drivers to stop and assist in clearing this build-up in front of driveways.

The City asks for the understanding and cooperation of homeowners.

Fire hydrants

It is the residents’ responsibility to clear snow from around fire hydrants that are in front of their home.

Eagle Mountain’s proposed Transportation Master Plan will be receiving some additional research and consideration prior to final approval.

During their Sept. 20 meeting, the Eagle Mountain City Council moved to table the Transportation Master Plan after concerns were voiced both by residents and council members on several key aspects of the plan.

Once adopted, The Transportation Master Plan is anticipated to greatly diminish the effects growth will have on City infrastructure over the next 30 years.

Certain changes are necessary to maintain acceptable levels of service and accessibility as the population continues to increase.

Potential interference with wildlife corridor

The Transportation Master Plan returned for further consideration as a discussion item at the Oct. 18 City Council meeting.

Once adopted the plan will help prevent such congestion by proposing to expand and lengthen roadways to provide more access points in and out of Eagle Mountain.

It will also aid in planning for an anticipated freeway that UDOT has proposed to construct through the Cedar Valley within the next 10-20 years.

The introduction of a freeway sparked some concern from both council members and residents who feared it may impede the existing Mule Deer Migration Corridor in Eagle Mountain.

City engineers had previously identified potential problem areas where the proposed freeway may conflict with the wildlife corridor but did not give specifics for how the conflicts would be mitigated.

Bettina Cameron, president of the Eagle Mountain Nature and Wildlife Alliance, shared her concerns over the lack of specificity surrounding the wildlife conflict mitigation procedures, saying there is only one statement in the plan that addresses what should be done if a road crosses the wildlife corridor.

“We really are hoping that you at least table the parts that deal with the wildlife corridor,” said Cameron. “What we’re asking is at least give us the opportunity, and Mr. [Todd] Black [City Wildlife Biologist], to work with the City to put some wording in here to toughen up some of these mitigation efforts.”

According to Cameron, Eagle Mountain’s wildlife is what makes Eagle Mountain unique and keeps residents in the area.

“Failure to act now and protect why many residents live in Eagle Mountain will lead to a story of tragedy,” said Cameron. “The wildlife corridor guarantees there will always be wildlife, open spaces, and expansive views. You help ensure these wonderful qualities of our city aren’t loved to death.”

Cameron’s plea on behalf of the Cedar Valley’s wildlife inspired another resident, Jordan Maddox, who was attending the meeting for a different agenda item.

“I am somebody who’s bought into the North Ranch neighborhood,” Maddox said. “The appeal for us was to get some of the larger lots, to kind of have that wildlife feel, the rural feel, the space feel. I am somebody who loves the wildlife. …So it would be concerning to me as a citizen who lives in that neighborhood to feel like that freeway is just going to be dead-heading right in the space that…is a lot of the really cool things that makes Eagle Mountain so special.”

Maddox says she would love to see the future freeway moved to the west, even if it is farther out of the way.

Implementation of bike lanes

The City Council addressed comments from Councilmember Colby Curtis, who expressed concerns over whether bike lanes were an efficient use of valuable road space.

“Two percent of people use bikes and transit in Utah county, and I can’t justify spending large amounts of transportation funding on those facilities that nobody uses,” said Curtis.

Under the proposal of the TMP, bike lanes are designed to improve safety, relieve congestion, increase the visual and economic appeal of the city, and provide better quality of life by addressing health and environmental problems.

Curtis, noting this section of the plan, said he believes implementing bike lanes will discourage residents from using their automobiles in an attempt to turn Eagle Mountain into a more metropolitan area.

“The idea that we’re trying to discourage cars in favor of bicycles and other alternative methods just doesn’t sit well with me,” said Curtis.

Not all council members agreed.

Councilmember Donna Burnham was in favor of the bike lanes, noting that implementing bike lanes would help the City receive additional funding for road projects.

“I would prefer to leave the bike lanes if it helps us get the funding for those roads,” she said.

Steve Mumford, Community Development Director for the City, addressed several of the points raised by council.

“If there’s an emergency lane and the addition of a bike lane would help us obtain funding from MAG [Mountainland Association of Governments], then how do we want that to look on the roadway?” says Mumford.

Councilmember Curtis again expressed concerns that bike lanes would deprive motorists of valuable parking spaces and limit access for automobiles.

Of a wider bike lane, Mumford says there are several key considerations.

“It’s just as wide as an emergency lane, but it’s a safer bike lane,” says Mumford. “It doesn’t prohibit cars from parking there, it just provides a safer way for the bikes to travel.”

During last Tuesday’s discussion, the City Council noted that bike lanes would not lessen the morning commute many residents face when traveling to work. The average Eagle Mountain resident has a commute of almost 35 minutes one-way, according to a study by BestPlaces.

To help cut down on travel times, Councilmember Curtis explained that he would rather see the extra space on roadways used to create an additional lane of traffic.

“If we get even a hundred bikes a day – which we don’t – how many cars per day would we get on that same amount of asphalt?” he said.

Councilmember Burnham again expressed support for the bike lanes, wanting to avoid more construction should a more urgent need for bike lanes arise in the future.

“[With] those main thoroughfares, we need to have that consideration,” she said.

Tabling the Transportation Master Plan

Noting the concerns expressed by the City Council and residents about interference with the wildlife corridor, bike lanes, and subsequent updates to city code, Council unanimously voted to table the Transportation Master Plan for consideration a later date.

The plan will be revised following research to address the Council’s concerns and will be presented to Council again at a future City Council meeting.

Eagle Mountain City will keep residents up-to-date concerning the Transportation Master Plan and when it will again be listed on City Council meeting agendas. Residents who have questions, comments or concerns are encouraged to attend City Council meetings for public comment.

Decorative pumpkin jar full of halloween candy

Halloween is right around the corner, which means soon the streets of Eagle Mountain will be filled with superheroes, princesses and spooky monsters.

Trick-or-treating is an exciting time for everyone on Halloween, but it’s important to remember certain tips to make sure everyone has a safe and enjoyable time.

Chief Deputy Eric McDowell with the Utah County Sheriff’s Office Eagle Mountain division has several tips for everyone to have a safe Halloween.

Individuals who are planning to trick-or-treat should “trick or treat only during the suggested timeframe of 5-8 p.m. on Oct. 31,” said McDowell. Parents should also be sure their children “only visit familiar, well-lit neighborhoods and homes that have their porch lights on.”

“Parents should inspect children’s candy before they eat any,” said McDowell. “If anything is unwrapped or looks suspicious, throw it away.”

Homeowners looking to have a safe Halloween should only hand out commercially-wrapped candy and only have their porch light on if they are willing to welcome trick-or-treaters. It’s equally important for homeowners to secure all pets for the safety of trick-or-treaters and the animal.

Motorists who plan to be out and about on Halloween should be especially cautious.

“Drive slowly and be aware of children who could dart in and out of traffic or between parked cars,” cautions McDowell. “Avoid distractions, like using your cell phone or listening to loud music, which affect your ability to see or hear children.”

As always, but especially on Halloween, motorists should never drink and drive.

Below is a complete list of Halloween safety tips provided by McDowell and the Utah County Sheriff’s Office:

Safety tips for trick-or-treaters and parents:

  • Trick-or-treat only during the suggested timeframe – 5-8 p.m. on Oct. 31
  • Only visit familiar, well-lit neighborhoods and homes that have their porch lights on.
  • Walk on the sidewalk and observe all traffic laws.
  • Parents should inspect children’s candy before they eat any. If anything is unwrapped or looks suspicious, throw it away.
  • Make sure trick-or-treaters have a flashlight and are wearing costumes that do not restrict their vision, could cause them to trip, are flame retardant and are light colored and visible. Consider placing reflective tape on costumes or treat bags.
  • Don’t run! Walk.
  • Never go into a stranger’s home.
  • Always trick or treat with an adult.
  • Notify police of any suspicious activity.

Safety Tips for Homeowners:

  • Only hand out commercially wrapped candy.
  • Only turn your porch light on if you welcome trick-or-treaters.
  • Secure pets.

Safety Tips for Motorists:

  • Drive slowly and be aware of children who could dart in and out of traffic or between parked cars.
  • Avoid distractions, like using your cell phone or listening to loud music, which affect your ability to see or hear children.
  • NEVER drink and drive.

Halloween is an exciting time of the year. With proper precautions, Halloween and other fall festivities can be a safe and memorable time for all Eagle Mountain residents.

Some of Eagle Mountain City’s departments have recently moved to expanded facilities to accommodate the additional staff that are now needed to adequately provide service to residents.

Where local needs used to be effortlessly managed by a handful of employees, the Community Development Department, now at 22 on staff, is ready to assist residents with their various needs in Building, Planning, Business Licensing and the Neighborhood Improvement Department.

These departments are now located at 3726 E. Campus Dr., Suites D and H.

This location is conveniently located for residents directly east of the Maverick station at the intersection of Ranches Parkway and Cory Wride Memorial Highway (SR-73).

Suite D, on the first floor to your left as you enter, houses Business Licensing and Neighborhood Improvement. Suite H, on the 2nd floor, contains the general offices for Building and Planning. There is an elevator as well as stairs to access the second floor.

According to Eagle Mountain City Administrator Paul Jerome, it proved more fiscally responsible to lease space from the Direct Communications building, which had room available, compared to building.

The leasing costs are well below current rates for similar leasing.

“Even continuing the lease well into the future will provide a substantial savings over the concept of constructing a new building to meet the City’s needs,” says Jerome. “Although this gives the City a little reprieve from a space standpoint in the existing buildings, there will be a time in the future where constructing additional space rather than leasing will become necessary.”

The Engineering, Parks, Recreation and Streets Departments are still located at 2565 N. Pony Express Parkway. Phone numbers for all City departments remain the same. Office hours remain M-F from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., excluding holidays.

The expanded staff in all departments stand ready to help with your residential needs.

To further assist residents with questions, many of the inquiries residents have regarding building and planning may be answered on the Eagle Mountain City website.

Information regarding the various requirements of basement finishing, adding accessory buildings, patio covers, decks, solar installation, pools, retaining walls, needed inspections and much more are found on the website under Departments – Community Development – Building.

Helpful information for all City departments, as well as City government, is accessible on the website.

There are FAQs, contact information for every department, news, City employment opportunities and our calendar of City meetings, events and activities.  

For kids who love big trucks and other service vehicles, the Touch-a-Truck event hosted by Eagle Mountain City’s Public Library was an unforgettable experience.

The Touch-a-Truck event took place on Oct. 6 and featured all the big utility vehicles from the City’s Streets Department.

“They had all of the trucks for the streets,” said Mandy Paice, who organized the event. “The paver, they had the backhoe, they had the snowplows and garbage trucks, the little tiny excavator, big excavator.”

The event provided children with the opportunity to get up close and personal with City utility vehicles, sit in the driver’s seat, play with the controls and even honk the horn.

In total, 44 children and 26 adults came to the Touch-a-Truck event, according to Paice.

“We got the idea when we went to the Summer Bash that Eagle Mountain did,” said Paice.

She and a co-worker offered to help supervise children who were interested in touching the street equipment.

Zac Hilton, Streets Department manager, coordinated with the library to organize the event. He also appreciated Touch-a-Truck as an opportunity to speak to residents and answer their questions about upcoming street projects.

While parents learned more about road construction and other infrastructure projects, kids were able to safely explore equipment that would otherwise be dangerous.

“[Zac] had all of his guys come out and help, which I thought was wonderful,” said Paice. “All his guys came out, they all got the equipment set up nice, and they helped just watch to make sure [the kids] weren’t doing anything dangerous.”

With such a great turnout this year, Paice hopes the Eagle Mountain Public Library can host the event semi-annually, potentially each fall and spring when the weather is appropriately nice.

Paice also hopes to host similar events in the future where kids can interact with other vehicles and personnel from the Fire Department and the Utah County Sheriff’s Office.

“This library’s awesome. I love working here,” laughed Paice. “I hope people utilize it as much as they can because it’s a fantastic resource.”

The library hosts several events every month for individuals of all ages, such as book clubs, STEAM club and story times.

Residents are encouraged to check out the Eagle Mountain Public Library Facebook page to learn more about upcoming events and resources offered by the library.

Eagle Mountain City has historically had some of the lowest utility rates in Utah, especially for a City that does not have a secondary (irrigation) water system.

The ability to keep rates relatively low is due to several factors. Primarily, Eagle Mountain is a young city and has not required substantial maintenance to its infrastructure. These circumstances, combined with a culture of frugality have allowed the city to keep utility rates as low as possible for as long as possible.

“Eagle Mountain City has tried in earnest to exhaust all possible options before adjusting utility rates,” said City Spokesperson Tyler Maffitt.

Utility rates in Eagle Mountain had remained essentially unchanged for 20 years until early 2020. It was determined current rates would soon be unsustainable.

“The current rates have been insufficient to generate the revenue needed to cover expenses for a few years now. Eagle Mountain City has used every tool at its disposal to cover growing costs without raising rates, but those tools have now been exhausted,” according to the 2022 Utility Rate Study conducted by the City.

Rate increases were announced in the spring and took effect in early June. The increase has not gone unnoticed by residents.

In the comments section of a Facebook post in the Eagle Mountain City Citizens Facebook group, residents shared snapshots of their water meters over the past year, comparing 2022 readings to the same time last year.

“Ours has been almost double the last 2 months,” said Marla Van Tassell Anderson, a member of the Eagle Mountain City Citizens Facebook group.

“Our bill was almost 100$ higher and we haven’t been watering as much. I’m going to call them and see what is up with it,” said another group member, Malina Lucas.

In addition to the spring rate increase, several water meters around the city require maintenance and must be read manually by City water technicians.

If a technician can only read a meter every other month, then a resident’s bill will look much larger than it actually is, charging for two months every other month rather than once per month.

The objective of the two-year Utility Rate Study was to determine the minimum increase needed to provide the necessary revenues to become financially stable and prevent inconsistent meter-reading.

The 2022 Utility Rate Study points to several factors contributing to the need for increased rates, with inflation being one of the largest.

To keep taxpayer costs low, Eagle Mountain City’s utility rates were not adjusted to account for average annual inflation for 20 years. Inflation alone is a major factor that causes expenses to exceed revenues, even with a rapidly growing population.

The cost of water was another factor uncovered by the 2022 study.

Utah’s historic drought has made water sources increasingly scarce, and consequently affected the cost of water rights. Eagle Mountain is situated in a high desert climate and does not have adequate capacity to provide enough water to fill its resident’s needs from its own sourcing facilities.

The City must therefore purchase water from Central Utah Water Conservancy District (CUWD) to ensure sufficient water supply.

The final contributing factors discovered by the study are system aging and the health of utility funds. While Eagle Mountain is still a relatively young community, the City’s infrastructure is now beginning to experience normal wear and tear and needs maintenance.

Without adjustment, utility rates do not provide enough revenue to cover the costs of maintenance or the labor necessary to make repairs.

Eagle Mountain seeks to maintain a healthy utility reserve fund in the event of water emergencies or a need for mass repairs. With expenses exceeding revenues, that reserve balance steadily declines.

“With no changes, we would be negative by fiscal year 2024 which begins July 1, 2023,” found the study.

Water rates are split into two parts: base rate and consumption rate. The base rate is paid monthly regardless of water usage and the consumption rate is based on the volume of water used. The base rate covers the expenses of the city that do not increase due to water usage. The consumption rate covers those expenses that change with increased water usages, such as maintenance and equipment replacements.

Following the study, rates were calculated to ensure utilities remain stable in the coming years while only covering necessary operating costs and debt obligations to achieve the optimal balance of expenses and revenues.

“Eagle Mountain City staff will monitor revenues and revisit the rates every 2-3 years to ensure we are not over or undercharging,” the study says.

The increase in utility rates went into effect in May 2022. Rates are forecast to increase by 4% annually, though the first increase is not scheduled to take place until July 2023.

These rate changes are necessary for the health and stability of Eagle Mountain’s fund balance reserve. And, even with the rate increase, utility rates in Eagle Mountain are far lower than any other Utah city that does not have a secondary water system, and compete with those that do, the study found.

Eagle Mountain City is hopeful that the rate increase, though inconvenient for some residents, will stabilize balance reserve funds and lead to more consistent meter readings.

By balancing expenses with revenues, the City will be able to hire more personnel to keep up with maintenance schedules, repair meters and reserve funds in case of an emergency.

Eagle Mountain City would like to assure residents that the utility rate increase is in no way associated with the theft of $1.13 million from the City in a cybercrime earlier this year.

“It’s easy to point to an increase in your bill and name unrelated factors,” said Maffitt. “The state of Utah disallows the mixing of utility funds with any other budget line items. There is zero relationship between these two situations.”

Residents who would like to learn about utility rates or the 2022 Utility Rate Study may do so by visiting the Utility Rates page on the City’s website or by downloading the study.