Sewer, water rate increase on tap

City Council introduced a pair of ordinances last week that will set water and sewer fees and authorize average rate increases of about 6 percent this year.

The governing body unanimously introduced two ordinances at its Feb. 13 regular meeting. O-8-17 would set new sewer rates and O-9-17 would set new water rates. The two ordinances are scheduled to come up for a public hearing and final adoption at the City Council‘s next regular meeting, on March 13.

70987-waterIt would be the first increase in the sewer rate since 2009. Water rates on average increase by about 5 percent a year. The city is in the process of renewing a long-term lease of its water treatment plant, which projects annual rate increases of about 5 percent over the life of the agreement. If all approvals are granted, a new 20-year lease agreement is expected to take effect in May.

City Council last set water rates via ordinance in 2013 (O-39-13), when it approved an ordinance setting rates through 2018:

  • Oct. 1, 2013 — $39.37 per 1,000 cubic feet
  • Jan. 1, 2015 — $41.34
  • Jan. 1, 2016 — $43.41
  • Jan. 1, 2017 — $45.58
  • Jan. 1, 2018 — $47.85

The new ordinance (O-9-17) would set water rates as follows, with a new rate increase by April 1:

  • April 1, 2017 — $48.62 per 1,000 cubic feet
  • Jan. 1, 2018 — $51.05
  • Jan. 1, 2019 — $53.60
  • Jan. 1, 2020 — $56.28
  • Jan. 1, 2021 — $59.09

Sewer rates were separated from the municipal tax bill starting in 2007, establishing a flat annual fee of $245 for single-family homes. That fee was increased by 8 percent to $265 in 2009 and this year will become $290; an increase of 9.4 percent.

Two-family homes will see an increase of 7.5 percent, from $423 to $455, and condominiums will see a rise of almost 11 percent, from $212 to $235.

For commercial and industrial properties, the minimum annual charge per account will go up from $380 to $410, an increase of 8 percent, plus usage. The usage will increase about 9 percent, from $4.28 per 1,000 gallons to $4.67.

For nonprofit, apartment or governmental, the minimum annual charge per account will increase 13 percent, from $135 to $153, plus usage, which will rise from $2.85 per 1,000 gallons to $3.10, about 9 percent.

Rates will remain at $50 for all properties owned by senior citizens who qualify for a senior citizen tax deduction.