City Council approves water rate increase, plant fee

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Councilors approved a 9.11%increase in water rates, a $6 per month fee to finance a new treatment facility and enhancements to the City's Customer Assistance Program at their meeting June 14.

Councilors voted 7-1 to approve the new rates, with Councilor Matt Johnston the sole dissenter

Water customers see a 9.11% increase to water rates to re-establish rates that were in place in 2019. The rates were decreased by 8% in 2020. Prior to that, rates had not increased since 2017. The decrease was intended to be temporary to spend down reserves, and those reserves have been spent. Rates need to be reset in order for the utility to operate in a financially sustainable way, councilors agreed.

The rate reset begins July 1.

Councilors approved new watering restrictions last week that limits outdoor watering to three days per week through September. For odd-numbered addresses, irrigation is designated on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays of each week. For even-numbered addresses, irrigation is designated on Sundays, Tuesdays and Fridays of each week.

Paying for new plant

The water treatment plant fee will start in January, charging $6 a month for a single family home with a standard meter.

This fee will finance the operational costs of constructing the new water treatment plant. The new water treatment plant is meant to replace the City's current water treatment plant, which is more than 25 years old, and meet the water needs of current and future residents. The new plant will double the capacity of the existing plant and will be funded in part by contributions from developers and by the new water treatment plant fee. Work on the new plant is set to break ground in July and is expected to be completed in the summer of 2025.

The average single-family home that uses approximately 4,000 gallons of water in the winter would see about an increase of about $8.48 per month from both the water rate increase and the new water plant fee. In summer, the average household that uses 14,500 gallons of water, would see a $13 increase per month.

The City's Customer Assistance Program provides financial support to income-qualified customers needing assistance paying their water bill. The City of Brighton also has several programs to encourage water conservation and efficiency and offset water costs, like offering a credit to customers who reduce their water consumption by at least 20-percent. To learn more about those programs, go to www.brightonco.gov/308/Water-Conservation-and-Efficiency on the internet.

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