St. Francis water, sewer rate increases on hold for future vote

The St. Francis City Council is considering a recommendation by city staff to increase the city’s water and sewer rates effective for bills due Feb. 10, 2014.

The council Nov. 18 tabled the vote on an ordinance that would raise those rates, opting to postpone the vote until the next meeting when all members of the council are present. Councilmember Mike Haggard was absent from the meeting due to illness.

The proposed rate changes include increasing the base fee for sewer from $12.25 to $12.50; increasing the monthly sewer usage fee per 1,000 gallons from $4.55 to $4.90; and increasing the base fee for water from $11.75 to $13.75. A state water test fee of $0.53 would also be added to that last amount, bringing the total to $14.28.

Tiered conservation water use charges would also be increased as follows: for zero to 14,999 gallons, the rate per 1,000 gallons would go from $4.05 to $4.25; for 15,000 to 29,999 gallons the rate would go from $4.25 to $4.45; for 30,000 to 44,999 gallons the rate would increase from $4.95 to $5.15; and for usage of more than 45,000 gallons the rate would top out at $6.15 per gallon, up from $5.95.

State law has required public water suppliers serving more than 1,000 people to implement a tiered rate structure that encourages water conservation since Jan. 1, 2010.

It is estimated that the recommended rate increases would generate an additional $42,275 in sewer revenues and an additional $90,200 in water revenues. These revenues would go toward covering the city’s water and sewer fund costs as well as providing for the debt service payments to the Minnesota Public Facilities Authority.

The city last saw a water and sewer increase on Feb. 1, 2011.