Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

City Outlines Utility Hikes ; Council to Discuss Proposal at Next Meeting

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

City Outlines Utility Hikes ; Council to Discuss Proposal at Next Meeting

Article excerpt

A proposal set to go before the Topeka City Council would increase water and wastewater volume rates for homes and businesses by 6 percent in 2015, 5 percent in 2016 and 5 percent in 2017.

But residential customers who use the least water and produce the least wastewater actually would see their monthly bills decrease, said Doug Gerber, the city's director of administrative and financial services.

"Customers would pay for exactly what they use, and nothing more," Gerber said.

City manager Jim Colson said he anticipated the city council would approve the proposed rates, though the decision ultimately would be up to the council.

Gerber and Colson spoke late Monday morning at the first of two public meetings being held to share information about proposed increases in rates the city charges for its water and wastewater services, also known as "sanitary sewer" services.

The city council plans Sept. 9 to discuss the proposed increases. They would do away with the current arrangement through which:

- Water service customers in the city pay a minimum rate of $15 a month if they use 1,500 gallons or less of water.

- Wastewater service customers in the city pay a minimum rate of $14.85 a month if they discharge 1,500 gallons or less of wastewater into the sanitary sewer system. Wastewater rates are based on a calculated average water volume determined for water used in the months of December, January and February.

Gerber said the proposal would change the way each customer's bill is calculated to instead include:

- A charge based on the size of the customer's meter. For water service customers with the most common meter size of 1 inch or less, the monthly rate would be $9.83 in 2015, $10.32 in 2016 and $10.84 in 2017.

- A volume charge for every 1,000 gallons of water used, including the first 1,500. The volume charge would be assessed in addition to the meter size rate. …

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