Scottsdale raising many fees, utility rates Garbage Truck Recycling

The Scottsdale City Council approved increased rates and fees for a number of city utilities and services. The new rates will go into effect throughout 2019.

Scottsdale City Council has adopted new rates and fees that will go into effect this year for a variety of city utilities and services.

Council voted unanimously to approve the new rates and fees, affecting everything from water rates to train ride prices at McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park.

Solid waste

Scottsdale is raising its solid waste prices partly because of landfill fees and a loss of recycling revenue.

Decisions made by the Chinese government to ban the import of some types of solid waste have affected recycling revenues for Scottsdale and governments throughout the U.S.

Historically, China had been a primary landing spot for the country’s recyclable waste.

Scottsdale Public Works Executive Director Dan Worth said that ban has had a significant effect on the city’s recycling revenues.

In March 2017, the city earned about $99,617 in recycling revenues. Now, following the ban, the city earns between $10,000 and $20,000 per month.

Revenues have also been affected by plans to divert brush and bulk trash from landfills and to the green waste program. Those efforts have included education and customer outreach.

Rates for residential customers for all container sizes are going up from $17.25 per month to $18.75, effective July 1. Additional containers will now cost $9.50.

Community services

The popular McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park, was named the best public park in the country in a nationwide tournament-style contest in 2019, will increase the cost to ride the train and carousel from $2 to $3.

Those changes are expected to generate an additional $515,000 in additional revenue.

According to the city, the fees were last updated in 2007 and operational costs have increased substantially since that time.

The city noted that the increased fees will still remain below similar amenities elsewhere in the Valley, including train rides at Phoenix Zoo, $6; Enchanted Island in Phoenix, $6.25; Chandler Desert Breeze, $4.50; and Freestone Railroad in Gilbert, $4.50.

The city is also increasing the hourly field rental rate at Indian School Park from $45 to $60. The city will also increase the field preparation fee from $50 to $75 per field.

The city raised its hourly field rate after comparing rental rates at Spring Training practice fields throughout the Valley and finding that existing rates at Indian School Park, which currently hosts the San Francisco Giants, were below average.

The city is also raising rates at Scottsdale Sports Complex from $24 to $30 per hour to come more in line with the Valley average of $28 per hour.

The full facility rental rate will increase from $1,500 to $1,700 with a two-day minimum reservation.

The city is also implementing a drop-in table tennis fee of $2 at its senior centers. Drop-in play is currently free.

The drop-in table tennis at senior centers has drawn more people than expected, including those outside the target senior demographic, due to advertising by table tennis clubs.

According to the city, the fee will bring the city in line with other cities like Phoenix and Glendale and covers set up and tear down costs.

Water and sewer

The city is raising water rates effective November 1.

The rate for residents using between up to 5,000 gallons per month will remain unchanged at $1.65 per gallon. The rate for 5,001-12,000 gallons will rise from $2.95 to $3.00.

Users with more consumption will see rates increasing 15 cents for 12,001-30,000 gallons and 35 cents for those using over 30,000 gallons.

Base fees for all water meter sizes also will rise.

The new city water rates will increase revenues by approximately three percent.

New sewer rates effective July 1 are related to increased maintenance costs and the increasing cost of technology to operate the city’s high-tech wastewater system.

The increased sewer rates are expected to generate a two percent increase in revenues.

Development fees

The city is also updating its planning and development fees that cover costs associated with projects that go through the development review process.

Staff stated these costs would cover inflationary and operational costs to improve customer service.

The city is increasing its base rates and fees, though the exact amount of that increase will depend on the project.

Additional fees, including inspection fees, site review and engineering reviews, will go up between approximately five and six percent.

The city is also raising the in-lieu parking fee by 1.4 percent.

All of these changes are expected to increase revenues by $900,000.

The city is establishing new development-related fees as well, including imposing a cost for builders to stage and store equipment for private development on city land.

Electric vehicles

Scottsdale will also be implementing a $2 per hour fee for electric vehicle charging stations that could be installed at city facilities as part of proposed bond solar projects.

If the bond is not approved, the city plans to work with outside organizations to cover the cost of installing the charging stations.