City council members met Wednesday for preliminary discussions regarding potential rate increase formulas.
Ward 4 Council member Greg Jungman favored leaving the base rate the same and increasing the fee charged per 1,000 gallons of water used. By putting most of the increase onto the usage rate charge, customers will be incentivised to conserve water, he said.
Others agreed, but some also favor changing the formula for establishing the rate.
Because wastewater is not metered, sewer rates are based on water usage. In the case of residential rates, that is estimated by averaging the winter months’ usage and basing the charge on 80 percent of that use. In the case of commercial use, the rate is determined by averaging 100 percent of yearround usage.
Some council members favor increasing the charge per 1,000 gallons used and basing the residential rate on 100 percent, rather than 80 percent of water usage.
While at first blush, that formula appears to give commercial customers a break, in reality, commercial customers already will pay more because of the city’s capital improvement fee. Residential customers pay a flat 50 cent Capital Improvement Charge each month. Commercial customers pay 60 percent of their total sewer bills as a CIC. That means when the usage rate goes up, so will the commercial CIC charge.
Discussions are far from over.
Based on input from the council on Wednesday, city staff will come back with a number of options.