Mayor and Council to Continue Work on Water and Sewer Rate Structure

Water and sewer rates will remain the same through calendar year 2021 and the Mayor and Council will continue to evaluate the rate structure after hearing from property owners during the city’s Fiscal Year 2022 budget deliberations.

Last year, the city hired Stantec, a nationally renowned firm in the utility industry, to study the city’s rate structure and provide recommendations for setting rates for fiscal years 2022-2024. The current rate structure treats all customers under a one-size-fits-all approach that bills customers based on meter size and water usage. The study evaluated the cost of water and sewer service by three property classifications: single-family, multifamily and nonresidential.

In commissioning the study, the Mayor and Council were looking for a more equitable way to charge customers, due to the impact the meter-size approach has on multifamily properties. The study was presented to the Mayor and Council on Jan. 25 and can be found with the staff report from that meeting. Rate structures consistent with the study’s recommendations were included in the proposed budget for FY 2022, which begins July 1.

Since the proposed budget presentation, several property owners have submitted testimony with questions about how staff determined the rate structure for multifamily properties. In response, the Mayor and Council decided to leave the current rate system in place through the end of 2021. Between now and then, the Mayor and Council will work with Stantec to further analyze occupancy and use factors for multifamily properties. In addition, staff will examine how federal American Rescue Plan funds can be used to provide rate relief to water and sewer customers in coming years.

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