Reducing “sticker shock” was the focus of Thursday morning’s joint committee meeting.
City manager Doug Redmond presented his plan to pay for the $27 million wastewater treatment plant and reuse center to the city council and the city’s public works and finance committees.
Redmond’s presentation called for a reduction of the overall rise in water rates from the previously proposed increase of $31.50 to $26, phased in over the course of three years.
The previous proposal called for rates to increase by $31.50 starting in January 2015.
The plan proposed Thursday calls for rates to be raised incrementally beginning in January 2015.
Redmond’s recommended water rate increase would begin with a $3 increase to base water rates for all classes of accounts, a $5 increase to wastewater base rates for all classes of accounts, and a $3 per customer account charge for the Roosevelt County Water Co-op in 2015.
Rates would increase again in 2016 and 2017 with another $3 increase in base water rates, a $6 increase in wastewater rates, and another $3 rate increase to co-op customers each year.
The rate increase would generate a total of $1.6 million over three years that would be used to pay for the debt service on the wastewater treatment plant and reuse center, as well as fund the required Repair and Replacement Reserve Account and the Debt Service Reserve Account as required by the loan agreement.
The loan agreement requires that both reserve accounts receive funding six years after construction is completed.
According to a slideshow presented by Redmond, $1.63 million is the total required for the first six years after construction has ended.
Redmond recommended that the committees provide recommendations to the City Council to adopt the proposed ordinance as soon as possible, direct staff to begin a public education campaign notifying customers of the increase and why it is needed, and requested quarterly reporting from the Finance Director to ensure the funding of the reserve accounts.
City councilors and committee members took no action during the meeting.
Public comment was not allowed.