REXBURG – Residents’ water and wastewater rates will increase by 5.2 percent effective in October.
The Rexburg City Council made the decision during its recent council meeting. It did so after listening to its financial officer, Matt Nielson’s, recommendations.
Nielsen reported an increase in wastewater rates from $39.72 to $42.88. That’s a $3.16 or eight percent hike. Water rates will also go up from $32.67 to $34.49. That’s a slight increase of $1.86 or 5.6 percent. Garbage costs will remain the same at $21.34 as will lighting costs that will stay at $1.65. With the increase in water and wastewater cost, the average monthly utility rate will increase from $95.38 to $100.36.
“It’s a 5.2 percent or about $5,” Nielson said.
While it’s an increase, it’s not as much as was expected earlier this year, he said.
“Basically it was originally presented for the average resident’s sewer cost to go up 9.7 percent or $3.84. Instead of going up $3.84, we went up to $3.16 or eight percent. We were able to lower it because wastewater shifted some things around. We were able to remove the additional request for a full-time employee. We put that into the rates and reduced the rates,” Nielson said.
Every year the city opts to increase rates at small percentages rather than skipping a year or two and imposing huge rate hikes on residents, he said.
“Our philosophy is that it’s better to keep our fees current with our operating costs and costs of really running those facilities and then have small increases instead of large ones every few years. It’s all necessary because of the increased costs from inflation and other factors,” Nielson said.
Rexburg Mayor Jerry Merrill thanked the city’s wastewater department for helping keep utility rates down.
“We really appreciate wastewater personnel to find savings to reduce those rates. It’s nice they were willing to examine their operations and figure out a way to reduce costs there. We appreciate it,” he said.
Nielsen encouraged residents who have questions about their utility bills to meet with city officials who can look up their properties’ utility bills.
“We’re doing everything based on the average. Everybody is kind of unique in their use. Each utility count is unique and based on averages. If somebody specifically wanted to see the impact of the fees on their property, they should call us. They can see what the increase is,” Nielson said.
The city council meets at 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 16 at City Hall. The meeting is open to residents. For more information on the utility rate increase and on the upcoming meeting call the city at 208-359-3020.