BF considers raising sewer rates in May

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Starting in May, residents of Bosque Farms could see higher sewer bills. After several months of wrangling numbers, village councilors unanimously agreed to publish and consider the first substantial rate increase to sewer fees in nearly a decade.

"Expenses are basically exceeding revenues," said Mayor Bob Knowlton. "The sewer system is aging and grinder pumps are requiring more service than they have in the past. This is a natural part of any system as it ages."

Changes to the village's sewer service ordinance have been published and a final vote will be taken at the council's April 17 meeting. If the new rates are approved, they will take effect five days later.

Knowlton said the village is spending more than $200,000 a year on new grinder pumps and the parts needed to rebuild the units to keep them in service for as long as possible.

The rate increase will allow the village to set aside 15 to 20 percent of the revenue collected in a reserve fund for future repair of the system.

The proposed new base cost for a residential customer with water service and a single grinder pump would increase from $21.65 a month to $24.50. Customers without water will pay $37 a month, up from $27.06.

Commercial customers with single grinder pump units will pay the same base fees as residential, depending on whether they have water or not; commercial costs go up to $42.82 for double-pump installations, with or without village water service.

The commodity fees also could get a small bump, but the new rate schedule increases the number of usage categories.

Previously, customer commodity fees were charged on usage between 5,001 and 7,000 gallons and 7,001 gallons or more.

The proposed revision to the ordinance sets usage commodity fees for residential and commercial usage between 5,001 and 9,999 gallons, 10,000 and 19,999 gallons, 20,000 and 39,999 gallons and 40,000 gallons or more.

Cost per thousand gallons ranges from $4 up to $10.

"These were hard decisions to make," Knowlton said. "We never like to increase fees, but this is a fact of an aging system."

According to the ordinance, commercial customers with more than one grinder pump, 5,000 gallons per pump will be allowed before the commodity fee is charged.

Since sewer rates are likely to increase this year, the changes to the ordinance suspends the yearly automatic two percent cost of living increase to the sewer rates. Water rates will get the usual two percent increase this year.

Starting in 2015, the minimum monthly fees for sewer will increase by 2 percent every July 1.


-- Email the author at jdendinger@news-bulletin.com.