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I would like a bit more emphasis/explanation of how the sewer rates are set as regards the impact of low-medium-high users. Are the rates based on actual cost of service to deal with the biosolids/FOG produced? How did we parse-out those rates?
*FCS Group Presentation Slides
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Base fee: $36.10 (a $1.72 increase)Volume charges in cubic feet (cf):
Tier 1 (0-700 cf): $2.69/100 cf (a $0.13 increase)Tier 2 (701-2000 cf): $3.30/100 cf (a $0.15 increase)Tier 3 (2001 cf +): $5.14/100 cf (a $0.36 increase)
At these rates, the monthly water bill for a customer who uses 700 cf will be $54.93, an increase of $2.36.
Staff will gladly discuss the specifics of the rate study as it applies to any individual customer concerning projected financial effects upon request. A benefit of the proposed update to the sewer rate structure is that it will necessitate and incentivize a review of activities to determine appropriate categorization, so that billing will more accurately reflect contribution. City staff will work with all interested customers to identify uses, and opportunities to conserve.
If so, does the rate study include the additional cost of electricity to run the chillers as part of the rate input costs?
Churches get a blanket rate for both water and sewer. However, churches are frequently used during the “non-church hours” as daycare or other uses. Should there be some consideration of the more commercial aspects of “churches” that extend beyond their primary use?
I know we have been looking at the NW water tower up on Residence St. for a while. As I recall, there was discussion of the fact that the booster stations may obviate the need for that reservoir. If water reservoirs are to be continued, we need some capital accumulation to deal with that - and any additional reservoirs that may be necessary in the future due to city expansion.
* FCS Group Presentation
Overall, I am a bit concerned that the study is weighted to reducing base rates, and then providing increasing costs depending on actual flow. The study is fundamentally based on that to “balance the cost vs service” that we need to maintain. However, the structure of the rate system encourages conservation (a very good thing), but does the study include enough “buffer” to allow for sufficient funds to be generated if both residential use(rs) (wise scaping/toilet replacement) and commercial use (watering landscaping, in-house water use) decrease their consumption/output dramatically in order to reduce their costs? I worry that if usage decreases, we will find ourselves in a revenue/capital shortfall.
Slide 6*: Perhaps I misheard, but the two reserves cited here are ‘one time’ pools of funds---are they not? It appears we hope to grow them over time (as the value plant and operating costs may increase), but if they remain untapped, there is not a need to newly replace the reserve in each successive year. Is that right?
*FCS Group Presentation
Slide 25*: I’m confused by differences here…..seem to say the fact that two Classes jump well beyond the industry norm of +/- 5%, we need to reevaluate COSA in next study. Does that mean we won’t uniformly apply the 2.25% annual increase to sewage costs to all customers in this rate cycle….or that we will……or ?
* FCS Presentation
Slides 28* onward……don’t apply to UI (correct?). What is the total cost UI should expect to pay in the coming years for sewage? With ever declining enrollment, should volumes be reevaluated to ensure ‘fair share’ usage is captured?
Clarification on slide 24, Non-Residential - Low, - Medium, - High. Almost identical # of customers, but higher ccf for medium. Confused by difference between flows and % fund allocation for high and medium.
This question is related to the charges assessed on new meters, specifically the General Facilities Charge (GFC) charge. For a new meter there is a $2,550.00 GFC charge (5/8” inch meter) for new capacity. If I have an existing duplex that is served by one meter and I wish to install a new second meter so each unit is served by separate meters it would seem that we are not adding any new capacity to the building. No additional flow will be used to serve the building. How does the GFC apply to existing buildings that are being split?
On the technical side, and in line with industry standards, water system capacity is certainly increased by adding another meter. But on the functional side the opposite may be true given that individually metered accounts are paid for by individual tenants, leading to increased personal responsibility for water use and therefore decreased water consumption. In this specific case, where building occupancy capacity and use type does not change, we agree that waiving the GFC for the additional meter is appropriate given the increased accountability of tenants for their consumption and the conservation potential. Property owners are still responsible for the cost of the new meter installation itself, and if any future improvements/additions are made to the property that could increase occupancy then the waived GFC would be reinstated.
Multifamily (residential) sewer charges are a set monthly fee that is the same for different buildings/unit size, whether it is for one bedroom or four bedrooms. Over time the fixed rate structure is adversely affecting the affordability of lower occupancy units (studio and one bedroom units) impacting a population that is in many cases on a restricted budget. The proposed changes to the Non-residential classes (moving towards more weight on consumption-based charges) are intended to increase equity among customers so that those who contribute more to the system pay more for the services provided. Shouldn’t Multifamily use the same kind of system? Shouldn’t Multifamily use the same kind of consumption based system as the Non-residential class?