Money generated from $4.82 fee will fund city's new public works facility in Fairview.

Fairview residents and business owners will have $4.82 added to their utility bills in December or January as the City Council approved a fee to pay for a new Public Works Building.

The new structure will cost $3.2 million, approximately $700,000 higher than the price first presented to the Fairview City Council. The reconstruction of the building is needed because it could pose life-threatening risks to workers at the facility in the event of an earthquake.

Fairview councilors Natalie Voruz and Mike Weatherby said at a council meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 3, they were frustrated with the rising price. Voruz said she still supported the fee because employee safety trumps the increasing cost. Weatherby was the sole "no" vote.

The main concern about the city's current facility is its lack of seismic stability, but the structure also lacks a fire suppression system, is not wheelchair accessible and has other deficiencies including a lack of storage space.

The charge was enacted instead of issuing a bond that would have tacked on more money, on average, to a homeowner's tax bill. To issue a bond, Fairview citizens would have had to approve it on the May 2019 ballot.

In August and September, Fairview Mayor Ted Tosterud led two community input meetings to discuss if issuing a bond or enacting the fee was better.

Erich Mueller, treasurer of the Fairview Terrace Homeowner Association, spoke in favor of the charge during a public hearing on Wednesday, Oct. 24. No one spoke in opposition.

"We, the like the rest of the residents take for granted (that Public Works Director) Alan (Berry) and his team provide water when we turn the tap," Mueller said. "The sewer lines and pump station will continue to work and (water) will drain away."

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