What is a Utility Fee?
Most people are familiar with the concept of a utility fee. In most cities, residents are used to paying for water and electricity, telephone, garbage service, cable TV, etc. These are all “utilities”. In addition to water, most Medford residents pay for three City-owned utilities which are operated by the Public Works Department - sanitary sewers, storm drains and streets. Residents living south of Cherry Lane and East of N. Phoenix Road also pay a special utility fee for pedestrian lighting.
Why do we have these Utility Fees?
The revenue collected from Utility Fees helps pay for operating the respective systems. For example, the revenue collected from the sanitary sewer fee is used to maintain the City’s 230 plus miles of sewer pipe and its seven pump stations. It is also used to help pay for the operation of the regional wastewater reclamation plant located on the Rogue River near TouVelle Park.
Revenue collected from the storm drain utility fee is used to maintain the City’s 110 plus miles of storm drain pipe, 55 miles of roadside ditches and 25 miles of creeks and drainage channels. Some of the money is also used to construct new drainage facilities.
Revenue collected from the street utility fee is used to maintain the City’s 200 plus miles of streets and 22 miles of alleys. However, new streets cannot be constructed with these funds. Revenue collected from the pedestrian street light fee is used to maintain the pedestrian lights in those areas.
How are these Utility Fees calculated?
Sanitary sewer fees are based on water consumption. Residential users pay a base rate of $12.18 plus a gallonage charge of $0.79 per 1,000 gal, with a minimum of 2,000 gal and a maximum of 10,000 gal. The gallonage is determined by averaging the three winter months usage to factor out lawn watering. Most commercial and industrial users pay a base rate based on the size of their water meter, plus a gallonage charge for actual gallons used. Selected industrial users also pay an “extra strength” charge which is determined on a case-by-case basis.
Storm drain utility fees are based on the amount of impervious area on a particular parcel of land. Impervious area includes all roof areas, graveled and paved areas such as parking lots and sidewalks. A single-family residence is considered to be one “equivalent residential unit” (ERU). The charge for one ERU is $6.85 per month.
Street utility fees are based on the estimated amount of traffic generated by a particular type of property use. Every developed parcel of land in Medford is placed in one of eighteen different categories-of-use. Each category-of-use generates a different amount of traffic and is measured in units called trip-ends. The current monthly charge for a single-family residence is $8.46 per month.
The pedestrian street light fee is $5.34 per month for each affected residence and is adjusted each year, based on the CPI.
How can I find out more?
If you have questions about the sanitary sewer, storm drain, or street fees on your monthly bill, contact: