Fort Collins: Water and sewer rate hikes in the works for budget

Fort Collins back in the day via Larimer County
Fort Collins back in the day via Larimer County

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.
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    The council is scheduled to adopt the budget in November. For online information about the budget, visit

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