Falls City to consider rate increases

FALLS CITY — The Falls City City Council will consider increasing water and sewer rates at its meeting Thursday.

Rates for sewer and water have not been raised since July 2013 and July 2014, respectively. Utility reserve fund rates were last adjusted in January of 2016.

Before his retirement, interim city manager Terry Ungricht prepared a report on utility rates for the council to consider.

He said the city’s Public Works Committee voted to recommend the council tie water rate increases to a regional Consumer Price Index CPI — West, which increased 3.9 percent in 2017. Also, Ungricht recommended for the 2018-19 budget, the council increase rates by 3 percent effective at the September billing. That would raise the water base rate for a residential meter from $41.96 to $43.22.

On sewer rates, the committee members were split.

“While it was unanimously agreed that there is the need to increase rates, the committee did not reach unanimous consent on the rate increase,” Ungricht wrote.

On a 5-2 vote, the committee settled on a $5 increase. If adopted by the council, that increase would take effect in July.

Ungricht said the increases are needed as the city prepares for a major overhaul of its wastewater system and replacement of sand filters on the water treatment plant.

“As it is, we will have to be bringing the utility reserve fund down to help cover the cost on sand replacement for our filters, which is estimated to cost $100,000 per filter,” Ungricht said. “The plan is to do one a year for the next three years.”

Falls City’s utility reserve fund, set up to pay for longer term maintenance needs, brings in about $46,000 per year.

The Falls City Council meet Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Community Center, 320 N. Main St.


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