Fire Hydrant Rental

Amanda Paez
Amanda Paez asked

Our city charges the fire department a "fire hydrant rental fee". I was told this was a common practice and it has always been done, but I haven't found any information on it. I assume it has to do with the city's water utility and not passing on a hydrant fee to water customers in city limites. Does any other locality do this? If so, what is the reasoning?


Philip Abbey

It is a very common fee. Municipally owned water utilities are usually required to be self-supporting from water sales and related revenues. They usually receive no general tax revenues from the municipality. They maintain the water hydrants for the city or other emergency services agency. Hydrant maintenance is not free so the water utility charges the municipality for the maintenance. This amount usually is charged to the fire department since that department usually uses hydrants more than any other city department. Usually the city council sets the rental fee.

In the event water service is provided by an independent water agency or a water company the fees tend to reflect a more true cost in maintaining the hydrants than when the city council set both the general fund and water fund budgets.

Robert Hudnall

I agree with Phillip. Most water systems charge a "basic service charge" to residential, commercial and industrial customers to cover the cost of installation, maintenance and basic availability of water from the municipal or commercial water supply. It incorporates the cost of setting a meter and sometimes the administrative costs of reading the meter, and billing. In effect, the "hydrant rental fee" is the method of recoupment of these real costs.

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Feb 23 2011
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Feb 24 2011

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