Logan looking for sewer lagoon solution

Logan City’s environmental department has requested a 20 percent increase in the sewer rate to finance reducing the amount of phosphorous in the city’s wastewater lagoons. “We’re being mandated by the state and federal governments to do this,” said City Finance Director Rich Anderson. “It may require some very expensive equipment be installed.” Anderson said the increase in the sewer fee could amount to a monthly hike of at least $3.67 per residential customer. Environmental Department Director Issa Hamud explains the process as harvesting algae off the lagoons thereby removing the phosphorous and any subsequent nitrogen. If successful, the cost would be around $10 million as opposed to a $200 million mechanical plant to remove the phosphorous. Beyond the challenge at the wastewater lagoons, Anderson said Logan City remains in a good financial position. “Around Utah there are a lot of cities having difficulty in closing their budgets, in providing services they’ve provided other the years,” said Anderson. “In this valley we’re very fortunate. We haven’t seen some of the declines that places such as St. George or Salt Lake City have seen. “We’ve still seen declines in our revenue sources but we’ve been able to deal with those in a way that we have not had to lay off employees. We haven’t had to drastically cut services, but we have looked at ways we can become more efficient. There are people who are suffering, there are people who are under employed and unemployed and that’s putting a lot of pressure on our taxpayers.” In his recent report to the municipal council Mayor Randy Watts recommended a one and a half percent salary increase for city employees. “This is important for our employees, we have not given raises in over two years,” said Anderson. “A few years ago we made a pretty significant change in our health care coverage, so that now the first $5000 in costs comes out of the employees’ pocket.” Anderson mentioned specific instances in recent years when department heads have come forward saying it would be possible to slim down by not filling a position about to come open. “There have been many of those over the last four, five or six years,” he said, “and we will continue to look at every single position as it comes open. For the foreseeable future, we don’t see a mass reduction in our work force.”

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