Anoka residents will see an increase in their sewer bill in 2014.
The Anoka City Council Nov. 15 unanimously approved a sewer rate increase.
The rate increase will provide an additional $118,000 for the city, according to Finance Director Lori Yager.
“It will cost the average water/sewer user about 91 cents a month,” Yager said.
The average monthly sewer cost will now be $18.92 for a residential property.
That money will be used to help pay for infrastructure expansion, improvements and operations.
Yager said her department expects there will need to be additional sewer rate increases in the near future to pay for needed infrastructure expansions.
She said increased sewer capacity desired in northeast corner of the city will cost approximately $2.8 million in 2018.
The last change came in 2010 when sewer rates were increased by 7.5 percent.
“Our sewer charges cover operating costs as well as provide working capital for future sewer infrastructure improvements as well as any expansion we have,” Yager said.
Sewer rates are calculated based on a customer’s average water usage during the months of December, January and February. This is done to exclude the summer months when many people use additional water for lawns and gardens.
Without increases, expanding capacity in the northeast part of the city would have to be delayed or the city would have to reduce or slow the street renewal program, according to Yager.
This would negatively affect the market values of properties in the city, he said.
Current plans are for the city to nearly triple its street renewal program in 2015.
Another option would be to bond to cover those costs of upcoming expansion and improvements. This would create immediate cash flow but rates would have to go up eventually to cover the debt.
“Without a rate increase and having to spend the $2 million on expansion we would be looking at an $850,000 negative working capital balance if we didn’t do anything,” Yager said.
She is also proposing that in 2015 the city would do a water fund transfer of $400,000 into the sewer fund so sewer rates would stay competitive.
With the approval of the rate increase, the variable sewer rate goes up by 6.9 percent, or 16 cents per 100 cubic feet of water used and the average ratepayer uses 500 to 600 cubic feet of water every month, according to Yager.
The variable rate increase combined with the fixed rate will result in an overall 5 percent increase on most people’s bills, she said.
Mandy Moran Froemming is at firstname.lastname@example.org