Water rates will increase in Springfield effective in the June billing cycle. The city council voted unanimously for the rate increase at its meeting Tuesday night.
“The current water and sewer structure was adopted in March 1996, so it is 11 years old,” Mayor Pro-Tem Dennis Webb said. “Inflation has eroded what we can do as our costs go up, and we are also getting pressure from the state to go to a tiered structure and that’s what this does.”
Under the new rate structure, there will be a $10 charge for the first 2,000 gallons of water used and a $10 charge for the first 2,000 gallons of sewer usage for residents inside the city limits. This will increase the bill of residents inside the city limits who use 2,000 gallons a month from $19 to $20.
There will be a $2 charge for every 1,000 gallons used from 2,000 to 5,000 gallons by residents inside the city limits. From 5,000 gallons to 20,000 gallons, there will be a $2.50 charge per 1,000 gallons. For every 1,000 gallons over 20,000 gallons there will be a $2.75 charge.
There will be a $2 charge for sewer usage over 2,000 gallons for residents inside Springfield city limits.
The base for water for residents outside the city limits will be $15 for water and $20 for sewer, while commercial inside the city will have a base of $14 for water and $20 for sewer.
Both residential outside the city limits and commercial inside the city limits will pay $2.50 per 1,000 for water between 2,000 and 5,000 gallons, and $2.50 per 1,000 for sewer usage over 2,000 gallons.
Residents outside the city limits will pay $3.50 per 1,000 gallons between 5,000 and 20,000 gallons and $4.50 per 1,000 gallons for water usage over 20,000 gallons.
Commercial customers inside the city limits will pay $3.25 per 1,000 gallons for water usage between 5,000 and 20,000 gallons and $3.75 per 1000 gallons for all water used over 20,000 gallons.
Commercial customers outside the city limits will have a $25 base for water and $30 base for sewer. For all sewer usage over 2,000 gallons there will be a charge of $3 per 1,000 gallons. There will be a $3 charge per 1,000 gallons for water usage between 2,000 and 5,000 gallons. The new rates include a $4 charge per 1,000 gallons for water usage between 5,000 and 20,000 gallons, and a $5 charge per 1,000 gallons for all water usage that exceeds 20,000 gallons.
The city has provisions to put in irrigation meters. Webb said an irrigation water meter costs approximately $300, and while the water rates would stay the same, sewer charges would not be incurred for water used for irrigation purposes.
Public Works Director Lowell Morgan said there are two people who use irrigation meters.
“You say the state requires us to go to the tier system — is that to jack the price up high enough to keep people from using so much water?” Councilman Charles Hinely asked Webb.
“Exactly,” Webb said.
Webb said the city has been losing money in the water and sewer department.
“You could raise the rates equally and not have a tiered structure and increase your income, but they want that tiered structure to put pressure on people not to use so much water,” he said. “Frankly, I’m not sure we’ve got the tiered structure steep enough, but you’ve got to get your feet wet, and this is a start.”
Webb said he would like to see the council review the rate structure annually.