Page 2 of 2Sewer rate increase just a formality
By Buck Traxler, I-O Editor
There were more local officials than protesters at a public meeting on the proposed sewer system rate increase last Tuesday at Norley Hall.
The city had already adopted a Resolution of Intent (R-997) so bonds to pick up a portion of the costs for design and construction for the city’s new sewer system.
Already under construction the cost of the project has an estimated bill of just over $4.2 million.
At the hearing, Mayor John Shevlin commented, “We’ve received $1.6 million in grant money and we can only raise to make what we can in payments.”
He went on to add, “If we can’t answer your questions tonight, we’ll get you an answer.”
The new rates are based on EDUs or Equivalent Dwelling Units. Harry Whalen from the Rural Water Development explained the complicated system and also noted that “MCA (Montana Codes Annotated) authorizes cities to set water rates.”
A sticking point, but also a part of the resolution is that users who are connected but have turned off their water or are not using any water from the system, will be charged $25.58 per month as long as they have turned off service or are not using the system.
New rates for users will look like this: 3/4 inch service line; new base rate charge will be $25.58; one-inch line, $35.81; 1-1/2 inch line, $100.02; two-inch line, $153.48; three-inch line, $239.42; and four-inch line, $479.10.
The new rate change is expected to be in place on the users September water bill. The city has 1,204 water connections.
At the closing of the hearing, councilman Gary Brown said, “We have gone over this very agonizingly and pain stakingly for the past two years. It has been a grueling process and nothing done was without a considerable amount of thought and debate.”
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