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Cottonwood Heights Journal

Storm Water Drain fee to increase, ‘With inflation, I think something needs to be done’

Jun 03, 2024 01:11PM ● By Cassie Goff |

$237,430 will be needed next fiscal year to flush out storm drain inlets in Cottonwood Heights. (Cassie Goff/City Journals)

The city budget for fiscal year 2024-25 in Cottonwood Heights will be adopted on June 18. In preparation for that date, the Cottonwood Heights City Council will hold two separate public hearings on June 4 at 7 p.m.—one hearing for the budget itself and one hearing regarding increases in pay for executive staff (as mandated by new legislation for the State of Utah). The Tentative Budget was adopted on May 7 (Resolution 2024-31) and is available on the city’s website for residents’ perusal. 

The only current increase to impact residents proposed within the tentative budget is an increment increase to Storm Water Drain fees. The Storm Water Drain fee will increase by 70 cents per month, bringing the average total up to $8.20 per household from $7.50. This fee increase will generate an additional $130,414 of revenue for the Public Works Department to put toward storm drain systems throughout the city. 

“Maintenance and reconstruction of storm water lines have expended most of the revenue. If we have an emergency project, we will be out,” said Public Works Director Matt Shipp. 

Flushing out storm water manholes and inlets and raising buried storm drain manholes is anticipated to cost $237,430. A reconstruction of the Supernal Way storm drain is anticipated to cost $500,000. Maintenance costs for the storm drain system is estimated at $729,000. 

City Manager Tim Tingey explained to the city council the Storm Water Drain fees are allowed to be increased by 3% annually, even though Cottonwood Heights has not changed the fee since it was implemented within the 2021-22 fiscal year. 

“With inflation, I think something needs to be done,” Tingey said. 

Finance Director Scott Jurges is working with Rocky Mountain Power to get all agreements and auxiliary paperwork filed to implement the fee increase by July 1. Residents can expect to see this increase on their utility bill later this summer. 

Cottonwood Heights receives tax revenue from various state taxes including property, county option highway sales, fee in lieu of property, franchise, transient room and telecom franchise. Additional forms of typical revenue for the city include Class C Road funds, interest revenue, licenses and permits, liquor fund allotment, court fines and various grants. 

Jurges summarized the total revenues to be $26,158,605 which represents an increase of $855,400 or a 3.1% overall increase from the current 2023-24 adopted budget. 

Budget discussions have been partly transpiring in city council meetings over the past two months. The council chambers has been packed with audience members of city staff and police officers concerned about the proposed increase to COLA (Cost-of-living adjustments) and merit. 

“A number of employees are worried about COLA because they are already working two jobs in order to make ends meet,” Jurges said. 

The currently proposed COLA and merit increases within the 2024-25 city budget average around 3% each. At 3%, the overall COLA impact will increase expenditures to the city’s budget by $325,620. This echoes the COLA increase from the 2023-24 fiscal year budget which was an increase of 3.4%.

Merit averages closer to 3.62%, with a handful of city staff members topped out within their position. The total overall impact to the city budget will be $231,773. Those few people who are at the top of their range receive a 1% longevity in lieu of merit, which will be an impact of $31,092. 

“We try to balance the respect (city staff) deserve with the pressures from the federal side,” said Councilmember Matthew Holton. “We are in a s---show cycle where the federal side spends us into oblivion, and we get inflation, then it trickles down to every level of government. We want to try find the sweet middle ground where everyone is happy. We are not there yet.” 

In addition to the COLA and merit increases, the city will be paying a health insurance increase of 5%, which will be an extra cost of $44,478. 

Cottonwood Heights pays annual fees to various entities, committees and districts. Membership fee increase for the city council, including the Utah League of Cities and Towns, will total $10,000. 

Mayor Mike Weichers was able to negotiate a reduction of $18,000 to the annual Central Wasatch Commission contribution. The city will now pay $32,000.  

VECC (Valley Emergency Communications) typically raises their fees for the CHPD to utilize their dispatching services every year with inflation. This year, the increase will include an additional $527 for their Crime Tracer enhancement to the records system, bringing this year’s increase to $18,665. 

As of publication, the UFA Board was still deliberating on fee adjustments, but Jurges anticipates a 5.4% fee, which amounts to $244,448. 

Additional expenditure changes to the 2024-25 city budget will include: $65,000 to replace the camera systems at City Hall; $67,5000 for IT at the new Public Works Building, and $60,000 for operational expenses within the new Public Works building among others. 

Jurges summarized the total expenses recommend at $22,878,105 which represents an increase of $1,303,036 when compared with the 2023-24 adopted budget. 

To view the 2024-25 Tentative Budget, visit the Cottonwood Heights City website at

For the first few weeks of June, the Tentative Budget link is planned to be scrolling on the home page. Otherwise, the link can be found by hovering over the “Your Government” tab, finding the “Finance” title and clicking on the “Budget & Financial Reporting” subhead. The FY 2024-25 Tentative Budget will be the first link under the “Annual operating and capital budget” list. λ