Cary board considers water, sewer rate hike

CARY – Water and sewer users in the village of Cary may see a slight decrease in rates through April before 3 percent annual increases.

The Village Board is scheduled to vote today on water and sewer rates through April 2018.

As part of the proposed rate structure, the village wants to decrease water rates retroactive to Jan. 1. The average residential water and sewer user who uses 75,000 gallons a year would see a 0.38 percent decrease on the bill.

Then beginning in May, there would be a 3 percent increase in rates each year through April 2018. That will bring in about $130,000 a year to the village.

The rate structure was recommended by Trilogy Consultants, which studied the water and sewer rates after being hired by the village to review the funds. It had been six years since Cary studied its rates.

Consultants looked at four years of financial reports and projected revenues and expenses. Consultants also evaluated the water and sewer facilities and capital improvement plans.

The 3 percent annual increases are needed to cover the anticipated operating expenses.

“This will help protect the village against imposing greatly fluctuating rates that have plagued other communities,” according to village documents.

Village officials expect water use to drop until it plateaus in 2016 at 70,000 gallons a year. Water use has dropped because foreclosures have left empty houses and more people are using devices to conserve water, officials have said.

As part of the proposal, the village will keep its fixed user rate as part of the billing structure at $2 a month. There had been discussion as to whether to eliminate the fixed portion of the bill.

“The fixed customer charge is typically used to diversify and stabilize revenues for the water and sewer utility,” according to a memo from the Village Board. “It is based on the concept that there are utility costs that are not caused by the amount of water consumed or wastewater treated.”

Nonconsumption costs are associated with meter-reading, billing, operation, maintenance and depreciation of water meters and hydrants, according to the memo.

If you go

What: Cary Village Board

When: 7 p.m. today

Where: Village Hall, 655 Village Hall Drive

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