By Joe Bachman
A 2016 Sewer Rate Study could lead to increased allocation of city funds for water and sewer.
The proposed budget at Tuesday night’s common council meeting predicts utility expenses to increase by 16% in 2016. Out of several factors that play into this, it’s sanitary sewer maintenance that would see a 97% increase from last year. This comes with a 30 year projection of sewer system improvements projects by the city.
“The 30 year projection on sewer systems are necessary — underground piping that is either falling apart or can be repaired,” said MSA Professional Services representative Tom Fitzwilliams. “That alone resulted in almost double what was originally spent in 2015.”
The report also recommended a change in the fixed monthly fee per 100 cubic feet instead of $13.80. Proposed changes would see charges based on the size of the meter — something most residents wouldn’t have to worry about since most use a 5/8 meter, which would maintain the $13.80 charge. However, commercial and industrial users who use 1 and 1.5 size meters would see an increase of $24.84 and $41.40 fee per 100 cubic feet, respectively.
The report wanted to note by comparison, that utility costs on average are still less than the statewide average, as well as monthly costs for cellular phones, cable/satellite services, and gas/electric power.
The city voted unanimously to approve the report.