Thursday the Arizona State Senate passed a bill that would eliminate city water fees and publicly fund the Arizona Department of Water Resources. Senators approved SB 1288 on a 30-0 vote and sent the bill to the House.
The Arizona Department of Water has had its budget cut for the past several years. Funding has been beefed up with water fees being imposed upon cities and towns.
“Due to 27% of the state’s population residing outside of a city or town, and many municipalities utilizing a private water resource, the fee has been unfairly distributed,” says Jack Hakim, the mayor of Bullhead City. SB 1288 would appropriate $6.3 million from the General Fund and repeal ADWR’s ability to collect a municipality fee.
Senator Gail Griffin, the sponsor of SB 1288, says ADWR has had to carry the burden of this unfunded mandate to cities and towns, causing serious budget strains for local communities.
While noting that every agency has had to endure cuts, Senator Griffin believes when a fee is imposed upon Arizonans for a natural resource that provides benefits to the entire state it then becomes a matter worth funding from the state General Fund.