Phoenix digging into water district changes

PHOENIX — Incorporating portions of the Charlotte Ann Water District that fall inside city limits would generate up to $62,000 annually for city coffers, according to information presented at Monday's City Council meeting by city engineer Jeff Ballard.

Charlotte Ann, one of the few remaining private water districts in the region, was created to provide water for rural areas, but many of its customers today are located inside city limits. Earlier this year, an ad hoc committee studying the city's water rates suggested that Charlotte Ann customers in the city should be incorporated, but the issue is controversial for many people in the district, who pay lower rates than city water customers.

While the Charlotte Ann Water District owns the water system and receives water from the city of Medford, city officials say district facilities create expenses for the city.

Ballard, under contract with Public Works Management, said adding Charlotte Ann customers to the city's water system was more about equity than revenue.

"Unfortunately, it comes across as being about money at times, but that's never been my issue," Ballard said. "We just did improvements on Cheryl (Lane) and we had to pay to move Charlotte Ann water meters, which cost the citizens of Phoenix almost $12,000 because they were inside city limits," Ballard said.

There are 44 Charlotte Ann customers in the city, including some commercial water users, such as Ray's market and Phoenix High School.

The city would have to pay about $48,000 in one-time costs to bring those Charlotte Ann customers into the city, but the Charlotte Ann customers would pay about $60,000 combined per year for water, depending on usage.

Initial costs for the city would come from converting meters and adding district facilities to the city system. The city would also face costs of around $17,000 or more to relocate water lines during work on the Fern Valley interchange.

Mayor Carlos DeBritto said it is unfair for some city residents to pay less than others for water.

"It's really unfair to the people who are actually in the city that are on our system where we have a percentage of residents on a different system that are paying less," DeBritto said.

"It's an equitable situation that we're looking for more than anything else. They were supposed to be annexed when that portion of the city got added to the city years ago."

Buffy Pollock is a freelance writer in Medford. Email her at

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