Be prepared for sticker shock with the receipt of this month’s city utility bill. As of March 1, rate increases for both sewer and refuse have been approved, following last year’s increase to the local water rate.
While the totals are different, the percentage of increase is the same for both refuse and sewer departments. Residential customers will see their rates go up by 12 percent, both for refuse and for sewer; the increase will be another 12 percent in 2019; followed by two percent increases in each of the following three years.
By 2022, that will result in a 30 percent rate hike in each of the utilities for residential customers. Other customers will see bigger increases.
As an example, non-residential metered sewer rates for businesses will go up between four percent and 36 percent. Those making the highest demands on the system will see their sewer rates go up most: laundromats and grocery stores will go up 36 percent, while retail and business offices will see just a four percent increase.
With refuse, the rates indicate the type of service received. The current garbage cans for residential use include 65 gallon trash, 95 gallon recycle and 95 gallon green waste; those rates will go up to $28.50 as of March 1. Those using all 95-gallon carts will see rates remain the same, at $31.50 per month. Extra cans will cost extra money, with the green waste can actually seeing a decrease in rate.
However, those using bins will feel more pain. A one-yard bin charge will be increased from $46.95 per month to $85.00 per month, or 81 percent. The two-yard bin will increase by 22 percent and the 1.5 yard bin goes up by 36 percent.
New rates are in place for recycle cans and bins. Use of a 95 gallon can will cost $30 per month, while a two-yard bin will be increased from $43.55 to $100—a 130 percent hike. There are new rates plugged in for commercial organics and roll-off services.
The notice of rate increase paperwork was mailed to all customers by the city. Users had until Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018, to make any complaints. Those complaints must be in writing. The public hearing on the rate increases was held during the regular city council meeting on that evening and the increases became effective as of Thursday.
The water rate increase approved last year will see a three percent increase to the utility bill as of July 1, followed by another three percent in 2019; for the following two years, 2020 and 2021, the water rate will increase at a pace of two percent per year.