City Council approves another water and wastewater rate increase | CraigDailyPress.com

City Council approves another water and wastewater rate increase

Craig residents might notice their water bill will be a bit higher next year after city council approved another water and wastewater rate increase Tuesday night.

At their regular meeting Nov. 12, Craig City Council approved the second rate increase to help pay for several multi-million-dollar water infrastructure improvement projects in the coming years.

“If you talk to Mark (Sollenberger, water and wastewater director for city of Craig), he’s already slated potential improvements that are going to be necessary over the next ten years of about 20 million or so,” City Manager Peter Brixius told council Tuesday.

But the current five-year plan to increase rates by 2% per year on Craig’s water and 3% per year on Craig’s wastewater might not be enough.

“Even with the 3% rate increases, on the project we’re currently looking at — without a loan consideration for next year, we’re looking at depleting the reserves for the wastewater fund, even with these rate increases,” Brixius said. “We’re gonna have to be aggressive in pursuing grants and loans just to keep up. With these marginal increases, it’s not going to keep these enterprises fat by any means.”

Mayor Jarrod Ogden tried to put the rate increases into context.

“I understand a fee raise is a fee raise, but if I’m looking at it correctly, a lot of it is only 5 cents per gallon for water,” Ogden said.

Councilman Chris Nichols wanted to know if out of city residents were paying enough to empty their septic tanks and grease traps into Craig’s wastewater treatment facility.

“It seems like out of city rates for these customers should be a little higher than a few cents,” Nichols said.

Sollenberger assured council the rates were within reason.

“This is fairly reasonable,” Sollenberger said. “…They bring their materials right to the wastewater plant and we blend it right there. There’s no collection system we have to maintain.”

As Tuesday was just an introduction of the rate increase, council took no action on the proposed increase.