Council to look at water rates |

Council to look at water rates

Avi Salzman

— If the City Council follows its consultant’s advice, water rates in the city will likely go up before the end of the year to bring in 11.28 percent more revenue than they currently do. Sewer fees will probably stay at the same level as they are right now, but tap fees for both sewer and water hook-ups also could be raised.

Tonight the City Council will review a water and sewer rate study that recommends higher rates for city water district users rates could increase by at least 10 percent on Jan. 1, 2002.

Water and sewer services are part of an enterprise fund, meaning they ostensibly can pay for themselves through fees charged to customers without extra tax money.

Monthly water fees, for instance, are meant to pay for all operations costs at the water department.

With new service demands, the city, at the recommendation of its consultant, is now likely to increase its rates to meet its needs.

The city can choose from at least two options presented by the consultants to recover its costs. One would lower monthly service fees by a few dollars and add the cost to the rate structure for water usage each gallon of water would cost the user more than in the past. The other would keep the flat monthly charge the same but raise the usage charges.

The city may also raise water tap fees from $3,220 to $3,710 per equivalent residential unit and may raise sewer tap fees. Tap fees require a one-time payment, collected when a new development comes to the city for a building permit and has to get hooked up to the water and sewer systems.

The money that is collected from tap fees pays for water and sewer capital construction costs, such as the cost of the $11 million wastewater treatment plant expansion currently being built by the city.

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