Council moves to increase sewer fees
The Fairfield City Council passed the first reading of an ordinance Monday that would increase sewer fees 20 percent.
The vote was unanimous as all seven councilors voted in favor of it. The seven city council members are Daryn Hamilton, John Revolinski, Martha Rasmussen, Connie Boyer, Jessica Ledger-Kalen, Tony Hammes and Michael Halley.
The ordinance calls for the sewer fees to take effect on the first full billing cycle after Nov. 1. City Administrator Kevin Flanagan said today water and sewer customers in the city should expect to see the effect of the fee increase on their December bills.
The city plans to increase sewer fees repeatedly throughout the next few years. However, Flanagan said the councilors were uncomfortable passing an ordinance that would commit them to fee increases in later years, and instead preferred passing the yearly increases one year at a time.
The 20 percent sewer fee increase applies to both the base charge and the amount of water each customer uses. The sewer rate is calculated based on how much water a customer uses, since the city assumes the clean water also goes down the sewer. Under the proposed ordinance, each user would pay a base fee of $17.82 regardless of how much water used. The user rate would be $0.0588 per cubic foot of water used.
Flanagan said the money raised from this year’s round of fee increases will go toward improvements at the sewer treatment facility and toward repairs to the conveyance system near Lamson Woods.
The entire cost of the sewer repairs the city plans are expected to be $42 million, which the city can pay off in a 20-year time frame.
The city council also is planning to raise water rates. Flanagan said the water rate increase would probably go into effect shortly after the sewer rate increase. McClure Engineering has recommended hiking water rates 15 percent every year for the next four years.
Multiple committees of the city council have talked about raising the water fees but so far no ordinance to that effect has come before the council.
Flanagan said the unanimous vote for the sewer fee ordinance showed a commitment by all council members to solve what he called the city’s “biggest capital challenge.”