Starting with water usage in February 2018, the wastewater and water rates for Dell Rapids residents will be increasing. The first reading of ordinances 851 and 852 to raise the wastewater and water rates were approved by the Dell Rapids City Council on Monday, December 4th during the regular meeting.
The proposed increase to the wastewater base rate will be $16.90, up from $16.00. The per 1,000 gallons used rate will increase from $5.06 to $5.78.
“In 2017, the city implemented an $8.60 surcharge in order to pay the loan on the new wastewater treatment facility. And going into this, we knew that we wanted to phase in these wastewater treatment costs. So we did not implement the operation and maintenance rates that were going to be necessary to operate the facility because we won’t have the facility operating until the spring of 2018. So we knew this was coming. This is a 9% increase from where the rate currently is at,” said City Administrator Justin Weiland.
The proposed increases to the wastewater rates are expected to raise about $100,000 annually according to Weiland. He also commented to the council that the city has estimated $100,000 to be the yearly cost of operations and maintenance to the new wastewater treatment facility.
The proposed increase to the water base rate will be $12.00, up from $11.50. The per 1,000 gallons used rate will increase from $4.52 to $4.64.
“In the budget for 2018, there is included a 3% water rate increase. There isn’t like the sewer rate that we know we need to increase it for operation and maintenance. The 3% increase is to keep up with inflation and increased costs associated with operating the water across the board,” Weiland said.
Weiland noted that this increase in water rates is also to reflect to the Department of Environment & Natrual Resources (DENR) that the city is increasing their rates on an annual basis. He said that DENR recommends a yearly increase to keep up with the costs and to keep rates where the DENR sees they need to be as an average across the state. Weilend mentioned that the increased rates could also put the city in better position for grant funding for the Southeast Infrastructure project. The city plans on applying for several million dollars in funding for that project in January.