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Ashland considers Medford fees for TAP line

The cost of building the line is estimated at $2.3 million
 Posted: 2:00 AM March 03, 2014

Faced with a potential summer drought, the Ashland City Council will decide whether to approve payments to the Medford Water Commission to bring Medford water to town via the Talent-Ashland-Phoenix water line.

The council will meet at 7 p.m. on Tuesday in the Ashland Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main St.

Ashland would pay $3,690,700 in system development charges for 3 million gallons of water per day if it makes an agreement with the Medford Water Commission for that water amount before April 1, when charges are set to increase.

After that date, charges would rise by $277,000, according to Ashland city staff.

System development charges are fees imposed by jurisdictions to offset added costs from increased strain on infrastructure.

Ashland will be able to afford the charges as long as it follows through on previous plans to raise water rates by 10 percent each year in 2014, 2015 and 2016. Increases would be almost 8 percent in 2017 and almost 4 percent in 2018, according to a new financial analysis.

In February, the Ashland City Council approved expedited engineering work for the Talent-Ashland-Phoenix water line, also known as TAP.

The line already stretches to Talent and could be extended to Ashland by late summer.

Preliminary estimates put the cost of constructing the line at $2.3 million, said Ashland Public Works Director Mike Faught.

Earlier plans called for building the water line for emergency use in 2015.

In years past, city officials debated building the TAP line to provide regular supplemental water for Ashland.

However, a water master plan recommended by the Ashland Water Advisory Committee and approved by the city council in 2012 calls for using the TAP line only for emergencies.

The full costs of having a TAP line to provide supplemental water on a regular basis would have been $12 million, according to 2012 estimates.

For a complete list of agenda items for Tuesday's council meeting and for details on each item, visit www.ashland.or.us/Page.asp?NavID=16098.

Staff reporter Vickie Aldous can be reached at 541-479-8199 or vlaldous@yahoo.com. Follow her at www.twitter.com/VickieAldous.


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