August 6, 2020 (Moscow, Idaho) -- In May of 2019, the City of Moscow initiated a Water and Sewer Utility Rate Study. Rate studies are conducted periodically to ensure that the costs of services are in alignment with the revenue to the utilities and that those costs are allocated in as equitable a manner as possible among the users of the system. For the past year, the City's utility maintenance, operations, and capital needs were assessed to ensure that the costs of operating and maintaining our critical infrastructure systems were in alignment with fees to each user. The City also convened a Citizen Rate Committee (CRC) comprised of ten ratepayers representing a broad diversity of interests to evaluate the rate study process and advise on water and sewer rate structures.
Utilities are paid with rate-based fees, not taxes. Idaho Code requires that rates reflect the cost of the delivery of services provided. This includes day-to-day operations, system maintenance and repair, and capital improvement costs. Rate studies serve several important purposes and revisiting rates every 5-7 years assures that rates are fair and equitable.
With this rate study, the City Council approved a restructuring of the commercial sewer rates, which were unanimously supported by the CRC. This restructuring will simplify the categories from eight down to three commercial rate classes: Low, Medium, and High. These new rate classifications are based on the loading levels of the wastewater produced by each commercial customer. This shift will better align costs with contributions to the system, as it will allow for a shift to a rate more weighted to consumption. An added benefit of this is that water conservation efforts can also lead to reduced sewer bills.
Commercial customers will be receiving a letter indicating their new classification, and the estimated impact on their bill. Also included will be an industrial survey that will ensure that the commercial accounts are appropriately categorized. The letter contains contact information for those customers who would like to request a review or explore cost-saving strategies.
For more information, please contact the City of Moscow Water Department at 208-882-3122.
Story Contact: Tyler Palmer, Deputy City Supervisor - Public Works & Services