From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):
Pueblo water users could see a 3 percent rate hike next year under a preliminary budget released Tuesday by the Pueblo Board of Water Works. The final figure could change, however. A budget workshop is planned Nov. 12, followed by a Nov. 19 public hearing. Estimates will be fine-tuned by then. The increase would be in line with increases over the past two years of 3.5 percent in 2012 and 2.75 percent in 2013.
Pueblo’s water rates remain the lowest of major cities in Colorado, according to the annual survey taken by the water board.
A 3 percent increase represents about $1 per month for the average homeowner, excluding outside watering.
Utilities costs are expected to remain steady, while there would be more than $3 million in capital projects that are needed to maintain the water system, according to a memo by Seth Clayton, director of administrative services.
The $34.4 million budget represents a 4 percent increase from this year’s $32.9 million budget. However, actual expenditures this year are projected to be just $29.6 million.
Revenues also will be down, it appears. The largest source of revenue are metered water sales, which were expected to total $22.6 million this year, but likely will fall $1 million short. That represents a large decline in water use. Consumption is down 5.47 percent through September, despite drought conditions that continued until August.
Some of the cutback in consumption is a result of the city of Pueblo’s efforts to conserve water in outdoor irrigation. But homeowners cut back on lawn watering during the last two months as rains returned to the area. On the plus side, outside water sales could rebound next year if weather conditions improve.
The water board cut back one-year water leases this year in order to rebuild storage supplies.
More infrastructure coverage here.