Fairfield residents will see new sewer rates on December bill
Fairfield residents can expect their sewer bill to jump 20 percent in the next couple of months.
The city of Fairfield passed the third and final reading of an ordinance at its meeting Sept. 23 to increase sewer fees. The vote was unanimous as all seven councilors voted in favor of it. The councilors are Daryn Hamilton, John Revolinski, Martha Rasmussen, Connie Boyer, Jessica Ledger-Kalen, Tony Hammes and Michael Halley.
The ordinance will increase the sewer portion of the city utility bill 20 percent by increasing both the base charge and the rate for water usage by 20 percent. 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 ordinance, each user will pay a base fee of $17.82 regardless of how much water he uses. The use-rate would be $0.0588 per cubic foot of water used.
The ordinance calls for the sewer fees to take effect on the first full billing cycle after Nov. 1. Residents will be able to see the effect of the new sewer fees on their December bill.
The council spent only a few minutes discussing the ordinance Sept. 23 before voting on it. No one from the audience spoke on the matter, either.
Fairfield city administer Kevin Flanagan said the discussions about the sewer fee hike occurred earlier this year during committee meetings. He said neither the councilors nor the public are excited to see sewer fees increase, but he believes city staff have done a good job of explaining why the council must do this.
“People have accepted it begrudgingly,” he said. “They want to see us fix the system.”
The money raised from this year’s fee increases will go toward improvements at the sewer treatment facility and toward repairs to the conveyance system near Lamson Woods. Those repairs are part of a larger, long-term project to rebuild sewer lines throughout the city.
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. To pay for a project of that size, the council expects to raise sewer fees every year for a few years in a row. The council has not committed to any particular fee increase schedule yet.