Northglenn spikes water, wastewater rates

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Northglenn residents may notice a bump in water and wastewater costs starting June 1.

City Council approved by a 7-1 vote during its March 10 regular meeting to increase water rates by 9.5 to 10.5 percent. Mayor Joyce Downing was absent. This was the first reading of the ordinance, a public hearing and final vote is scheduled for 7 p.m. April 28 at City Hall, 11701 Community Center Drive.

Ward I Councilman Wayne Dodge voted against the measure, saying he understood the city had expenses but didn’t like that the city was banking money in its fund balance and while charging more for services.

“As we keep growing, as of tonight 66 percent fund balance without a plan for that, by this time next year we can be three times what the city is required to have as a fund balance,” he said.

If approved, a residential customer who has an average monthly water consumption in the winter of 5,000 gallons will see an increase from $40.69 to $44.95. A residential customer who has an average water consumption in the summer of 15,000 gallons will see an increase from $81.89 to $89.70.

The new rates will increase water and wastewater revenue collections by about $700,000 over a 12-month period, said Jason Loveland, director of finance, during council’s March 3 study session. The revenue will fund future capital improvement projects, water rights acquisitions, general maintenance projects and maintaining adequate operating and capital reserves.

Council asked staff to put information in the next round of water bill and an article in the next Connections, the city’s newsletter, about the rate increases.

“As long as the article explains why we’re doing it — we have these huge investments we have to make and it’s a progressive thing. I think everybody will understand it,” Ward II Councilwoman Leslie Carrico said.

Some future capital improvement projects include for 2015-16: headworks and secondary clarifier, $7,310,000; decommission intake lagoons, $1,440,000; for 2019-2021: Bull Reservoir effluent pumping, pH control, $368,000; Lift Station “A” (second phase improvements), $660,000; expanded lab and operations space, $600,000; pave access roads, $565,000; and force Main “A” redundant pipeline, $12,000,000.

The city has about 10,250 water and wastewater customers. In 2005, the city contracted Red Oak Consulting to develop a water and wastewater rate study. The study found that in order to meet the funding and service requirements, the city would need to increase its rates by approximately 7.5-8 percent annually for five years.

“The study called for five consecutive years of rate increases, which we paused on in 2012 and 2013, so this will just be a continuation of the study that was done and was recommended and brought forth in 2009,” Loveland said.

This increase will be the fourth one since 2009.