Glendale City Council voted unanimously June 25 to increase the urban irrigation rate by $45.46 annually starting in August.
The increase will allow the city to evenly split the cost to maintain, inspect, operate and monitor urban irrigation systems with its 300 customers. The customers are primarily downtown from Northern Avenue to Ocotillo Road, and 65th Avenue to 53rd Avenue.
Urban irrigation refers to the direct delivery of untreated Salt River Project irrigation water to locations in urbanized areas, according to city officials. Urban irrigation is not available in newer neighborhoods.
The increases will continue with April 1, 2020, and April 1, 2021, bills.
Mayor Jerry Weiers, whose home has an urban irrigation system, said the public should focus on the resolution’s benefits, rather than the increase.
“Don’t look at it as the price going up,” he said. “It’s guaranteeing we are going to have water and not wasting water for years to come, which actually increases the value of your property. I don’t think it’s fair to ask the entire city to participate in paying that.”
Barrel District Councilman Bart Turner stressed the importance of maintaining the urban irrigation system in Glendale. He said the urban irrigation system is part of Glendale’s history and there was a community value attached to it.
“We need to keep it in good repair. We need to keep supplying the water and spend the lifeblood of the Valley and that’s why people came here in the first place; because we have irrigation. Without it, none of us would be here,” Turner said.
Vice Mayor Joyce Clark of the Yucca District said she has lived in a neighborhood that uses an urban irrigation system. She said when the system failed in the past, everyone on the street was assessed for the repairs.
“The Salt River Project does not pay our bills, nor does the city when repairs are required,” Clark said. “I don’t think the city is in the business of subsidizing an area of Glendale for their water.”
Weiers said it’s the customers’ responsibility to remove debris and trash from the irrigation system’s ditches.
“I know if I’m going to get my water, that’s my responsibility,” he said. “The neighborhood where I’m at. We have about a mile and a half of open ditch and pipe that we’re responsible for.”