Eagle Mountain residents protest spike in utility costs

Posted at 9:49 PM, Feb 10, 2013
and last updated 2013-02-10 23:49:55-05

EAGLE MOUNTAIN, Utah -- A group of Eagle Mountain residents are angry about a sharp rise in their utility bills, and they went to city hall to express their frustration on Sunday afternoon.

Eagle Mountain City runs its own electric, natural gas, sewer and water utilities. Residents said their bills are always higher, but this month’s increase was enough to mobilize many of them into action.

Heidi Strickland is one of the Eagle Mountain residents shocked by the jump in costs.

“When I first opened my bill I was expecting it to be higher just due to the cold month, and it was about $170 higher than our previous month,” she said.

Another resident, Sam Allen, wrote a lengthy report which suggests the problem is unwise spending by the city’s governing officials.

“They’ve known for years that they have extremely high rates, but they just learned that they went to pay for rodeo grounds that most of them never attend,” he said. “It goes to pay for exorbitant city salaries and benefits for employees. Our mayor is the highest paid small-town mayor in the state.”

Ifo Pili is the Eagle Mountain City Administrator, and he said the city’s rates tend to be about 15 percent higher than other utilities, largely because of bonds taken out by the city when the utility was established.

He said the extremely cold weather explains the spike in costs for the month of January, and residents should take a look at the data for themselves.

 He said: “What I would say to the residents is: ‘Please, just do your own research. I mean the data is there. We do an audit every year. Call the auditor, you know call our auditor without even us being there and ask for themselves.’”