From the Fort Collins Coloradoan (Kevin Duggan):
The recommended 2017-18 budget for Fort Collins calls for higher rates in all of the city’s utilities — electrical, water, wastewater and stormwater. Inflation and higher operating costs are driving the proposed increases, but so are long-range plans to build and maintain costly infrastructure needed to provide services to a growing community, said Mike Beckstead, the city’s chief financial officer.
Although charges would vary, the proposed rate increases would add approximately $6.29 per month to the average residential customer bill in 2017, bringing average monthly payments to $166.69. Another $4.65 per month would be added in 2018.
Overall rates for water service would increase 5 percent in 2017 and 2018, wastewater service would increase 3 percent each year, and stormwater charges would increase 5 percent next year but would not change in 2018.
Those increases would help the utilities build up funds to pay for projects in 10-year capital improvement plans, said Lance Smith, strategic financial director for utilities…
Reducing the water and stormwater rate increases from 5 percent to 3 percent would in 2017 save the average residential customer about $1.15 a month, Smith said.
Without the 5 percent increases, plans to hire two full-time water conservation specialists and a construction inspector would have to wait a year, Smith said. A $1.4 million project to rehabilitate Mail Creek in southeast Fort Collins would not be funded.
Utilities projects currently funded in the proposed budget include:
Replacement of aging water mains in high-priority areas: $1.9 million in 2017; $1.35 million in 2018. Replacement of infrastructure in the city’s Water Quality Lab: $1.3 million each year. Replacement of a raw water line running from the Poudre River to the city’s water treatment facility: $800,000 in 2017. Replacement of equipment used to remove water for wastewater sludge and stabilize biosolids to be spread at Meadow Springs Ranch: $2.1 million each year. Improvements to the oxbow levee on the Poudre River and to keep the Buckingham neighborhood out of the designated 100-year floodplain: $850,000 in 2017. Construction of the third phase of a stormwater system between Lemay Avenue and Redwood Street: $1.6 million in 2017; $1.7 million in 2018. The addition of 10 full-time employees in a variety of roles, including conservation programs: $793,000 in 2017.
The council is scheduled to adopt the budget in November. For online information about the budget, visit http://fcgov.com/budget.