City Council considers increase to sewer, water rates

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Whitefish water and sewer users could see an increase in their bills if a proposed increase is approved.

The standard residential service for water is expected to increase by .73 percent or about 30 cents per month, from $41.08 to $41.38.

The standard residential wastewater rate is expected to increase by 13.9 percent or about $6.23, from $44.66 to $50.89.

City Council on Monday, Oct. 1 is set to hold a public hearing and subsequent vote on the rate increase.

The proposed increases come after the city in 2016 completed a comprehensive water and wastewater rate study. Based on recommendations of the study, the city is proposing to increase the water and sewer utility rates because it says the increases are necessary to cover the cost of service, and provide for necessary capital improvement projects.

One of the major projects include a new wastewater treatment plant, which is expected to be operational in 2021, and based upon preliminary engineering estimates could cost $15 million to $20 million.

If approved, the new rates would become effective immediately.

The city is proposing an increase for customers with landscape/irrigation meters with a usage of 10,000 gallons per month. The proposed increase of 4.9 percent or about $2.10 would increase the rate from $42.80 to $44.90.

Rate increases for water and wastewater do vary depending on which service class a home is located in throughout the city. Homes in one of the pressure zones throughout the city could see a greater increase in their bill.

The city last fall approved a rate increase for water, sewer and irrigation rates in what is expected to be a multi-year rate increase. The rate study recommended increasing water rates by 3.6 percent over the next five years, while wastewater rates could increase by as much as 95 percent over the next 10 years.

Though each rate increase is considered year-by-year.

For more information visit the city’s website at www.cityofwhitefish.org or call 863-2462.

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