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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

City Water and Sewer Rate Increases

In response to citizen questions about the rate increases, I offer the following additional information about the USDA-Rural Development Water and Sewer Project rates. 

There are seven different rates in the City water and sewer rate structure.  Not all rates apply to all customers, so please, do not add up all the rates found in Council Resolution No. 2010-14 because that would not be a real bill.  Please see the three examples below to understand how the rate increases may apply to your bill: 

Example 1:  Minimum charge for all customers.  Even with a zero meter reading, customers will pay $38.25 per month.  This charge includes an increase of $14.40 per month, or 37.5%.   This charge pays for fixed City water and sewer system costs. 

Example 2:  For a customer with a meter reading of 600 cubic feet during a billing period, the bill will be the minimum $38.25, plus $27 for consumption charges.  In this example the bill is $65.25 per month.  The consumption rate for 100 cubic feet includes an increase of ten cents for water and fifty cents for sewer.  In this case, the consumption rate increased approximately 15%, and the total bill increased 38%.  The consumption charges pay for the cost associated with producing 100 cubic feet of water and processing 100 cubic feet of sewer.

Example 3:  For customers with a private well for drinking water, the City requires a flat rate charge for sewer.  This charge is now $39.75. The flat rate sewer charge was increased 47%.

No one enjoys rate increases.  The increases are the minimum needed to maintain a safe and effective system.  Also, City Council Members worked hard to find the fairest method to apply the rates, and they consider many factors.  With the new rate structure, the billing and capital charges apply to all customers, even customers with a vacant building or water shut off.  If you have questions or concerns, please contact me at City Hall or via email.

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