Sterling: City Council wrestling with designing rate structure

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From the Sterling Journal Advocate (Forrest Hershberger):

Tuesday night, the city council met in a work session to discuss how to establish the rates necessary to fund the [treatment plant upgrades]. Part of the dilemma the city is facing is grant and loan funding may be limited unless the city proves it has an acceptable rate program. Tom Ullmann of The Engineering Company in Fort Collins said part of the reason the rates will change under the proposal offered Tuesday night is changes to the capital improvement budget in the project. He said rates for water use alone could increase as much as 190 percent by the year 2020. “The last time I was here, we were talking about $65 per month, so we are looking at about a $10 increase” since then, he said. He said the present average for water consumption, not including waste water and trash service on the city bill, is about $21.66, and an average monthly consumption of 10,000 gallons for a 3/4 inch tap. He maintained that with the proposed increase over the next several years, Sterling water rates will be only a little higher than Fort Morgan’s rates are now. Much of the two-hour meeting was involved in how best to design a billing system. Options discussed were increase the flat rate on a tier system based on the size of the tap and amount used, or to change the minimum usage. Part of the equation required by the EPA and Colorado Water Conservation Trust is a water conservation plan. The dilemma is that if water customers become too good at conservation, the water fund will be impacted.

More infrastructure coverage here.

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