A recently completed water and wastewater rate and strategic planning study recommends several changes to the city’s current utility rates and structure. Under the recommended rate structure, 93% of single-family residential customers will see their bill reduced on average by $7 per month. The comprehensive study was conducted by Raftelis, a utility and public-sector consulting firm, and includes a 10-year financial outlook. The study is available on the city’s website and proposed changes will be brought before the City Commission next month. If approved, rates would be effective on bills issued on or after Oct. 1.
Public comments will be heard at the Feb. 17 City Commission meeting, 6 p.m. at City Hall, 301 S. Ridgewood Avenue. Prior to the meeting, comments can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Highlights of the report include:
- Proposed rates are based on a revenue neutral methodology, which means recommended rates would generate the same amount of revenue as the existing monthly retail rates.
- Proposed rates are projected to remain competitive and slightly below average when compared to the rates charged by neighboring utilities.
- The proposed rate structure removes the minimum 1,000 gallons of water and 1,000 gallons of sewer usage in monthly bills.
- In the proposed rate structure, water users would be rewarded for their conservation efforts, which is required by St. Johns River Water Management District.
- Proposed rates differentiate between customer classes for base charges and volumetric rates (single-family residential, multi-family and commercial).
- Proposed rates promote fairness among residential user classes by charging the base fee for multi-family uses on a “per dwelling unit” basis in lieu of meter size to be consistent with the way single-family residential accounts are charged.
- It is recommended that the city adjusts its reclaimed water fees and structure in order to recover the actual cost of providing reclaimed water service.
- Adjustments are recommended to miscellaneous fees to reflect the full cost of providing these services to existing and prospective customers.
- Adjustments are recommended to commercial impact fees based on meter size of the domestic service line instead of by the number of plumbing fixtures units within a structure. If approved, these changes would be effective July 1.
- The last time service rates were modified other than the annual Consumer Price Index (CPI) adjustment was in 2004.