The city has enjoyed relatively cheap water and sewer rates compared to neighboring municipalities, said McTygue. In 2001, the city rates were pinned as the sixth lowest in the state, he said. According to McTygue, the city's usage has remained pretty flat, but every year is subject to seasonal strains that make or break the budget, he said.
"This is so weather dependent. The amount of water you sell depends on it. If it's a wet summer, that's less sales. Although the city is growing and we are seeing new additions to the system, it's a constant estimate of anticipated usage in trying to develop this budget," McTygue said.
The increases will help the system cope with increasing energy costs to pump the water and chemicals to treat water, he said.
The city sewer rates are based on the same tier system and calculated by a user's intake of water.
Users in the zero to 2,000 cubic feet of use will see a 85 cent increase to $17.85 per 1,000 cubic feet of use, and the greatest number of users between 2,000 and 8,000 cubic feet will see a $1.35 increase to $27.85 per 1,000 cubic feet.
Sewer rate increases are to cover the cost of tying into the county sewer system that accounts for $2.2 million, or 64 percent, of the city budget.
In the end, however, the motion to institute the rate increase was tabled amid concerns from the Council's two incumbent Democrat councilmen and the new Republican commissioner of finance.
"I have a problem with the whole process," Commissioner of Accounts John Franck said. "I don't know why we don't hold this open a couple more weeks."
Commissioner of Finance Ken Ivins and Commissioner of Public Safety Ron Kim agreed, saying more public input was needed before a vote could take place. Kim said he didn't know if an increase was warranted or not, but said the burden is on the DPW to prove that to the other departments.""