From The Pueblo Chieftain (Tracy Harmon):
If Pueblo West is to keep up with its growth, water and sewer rate increases are a must, a consultant told the Pueblo West Metro District Board on Sept. 27…
The water resource fee of $35,290 would be charged to new residential customers who want to connect to both water and sewer service. Extra funds would enable the district to purchase more water shares to keep up with demand.
Currently, new construction permits are about $20,000 for water and sewer or $11,000 for water only, said Jim Blasing, director of utilities for Pueblo West. Board Vice President Matt Smith said the $35,290 price tag seemed high when compared with communities in the area…
Options outlined for proposed rate increases
Melanie Hobart, project manager for FCS Group, shared with the board three scenarios for water fees to help the district realize growth. That growth would call for a $15 million water treatment plant expansion in 2027.
If the district wants new growth to pay for itself, it could enact the $35,290 water resource fee and charge existing customers a 4.6% annual increase. If new growth is charged just 50% of the water resource fee, existing customers would be charged 8.3% more annually.
Smith said he would prefer to see a medium between the first two choices.
In the third water scenario, without a water resource fee, there would be a 20% increase in all water bills next year and 10% annually from 2023 onward. Sewer rate scenarios included one the consultants recommended where customers would see a 20.3% increase in 2022, a 6.5% increase from 2023 to 2027 and a 3.25% increase the following four years.
The second sewer option, which would prevent the district from going into debt, would call for a 48% bill increase for customers in 2022 and a 23.5% increase in 2023.
Pueblo West resident Joe Mahaney suggested the district prioritize a capital improvement project that would enable the use of treated wastewater for non-potable uses like parks. He also suggested higher water rates for users who consume more than 9,000 gallons a month.
Residents will have a chance to weigh in on the proposed rate increases the district settles on at a public meeting set for 5 p.m. Nov. 8 at Fire Station 3, 729 E. Gold Drive.