City Council will discuss increasing water rates |

City Council will discuss increasing water rates

— A hike in water prices is up for approval at Tuesday’s Steamboat Springs City Council meeting.

After the completion of an outside study to see if current water and sewer rates were meeting the city’s operating costs, a new rate scale is being proposed to the council.

Under the studies proposed rate charges and monthly sewer fees will remain the same. But the city’s finance director, Don Taylor, said that if passed the impact of the water rate hike would be about a 2 to 5 percent increase for the average household.

If council approves the ordinance, the proposed water rate change would actually have water users paying $2.85 less in monthly charges than the current rate of $12.35. But, the increase would be seen in volume charges.

Keeping with the city’s inverted block rate structure, which is designed to promote water conservation, the more water that is used the higher the rate increase.

For residential units using up to 12,000 gallons of water per month, prices would jump from a $1.05 charge per thousand gallons to $1.50 for the same amount.

For a household that uses 7,000 gallons of water per month, which is somewhat lower than the city’s average, the difference in their monthly water bill would be about 30 cents.

The difference would actually go down by $1.50 for households using 3,000 gallons of water per month.

However, for households using 15,000 gallons of water per month, bills could increase by 10 percent, an increase of $4.65.

Greater differentials could be seen in commercial water charges where consumers use 60,000 gallons of water per month. They may be facing an almost 18 percent increase on their bill.

A commercial business that uses 15,000 gallons of water per month would see about an 8 percent increase, or a $7 difference.

Both monthly charges and volume charges on sewer fees remained unchanged with the proposed rates.

Rate changes were also proposed in water and sewer tap fees. Consumers would see a $3 increase in water tap fees per point, and a $3.29 increase in sewer tap fees. Mount Werner sewer tap fees would increase $3.29.

Last year, Rick Giardina and Associates from Denver completed the study to see if the rates being charged would cover the operating costs of the water and sewer systems for the next five years. The rate study also examined if the rates would cover the amount of money spent on recent capital projects for the systems.

In the last few years, the city has spent $12 million on the sewer plant and made significant investments in the water treatment plant.

“It’s just to make sure we’re covering our cost. This should be done every four or five years,” Taylor said.

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