Increases will be on September billing cycle


IMLAY CITY — The cost of doing business continues to escalate, even in city government.

Following a presentation on a new water and sewer rate study at last week’s meeting, Imlay City commission members voted to support new rate increases.

In the report, commission members were told the report prepares a financial model for them to forecast expenditures and revenue that is required from water and sewer rates.

The report was designed to help establish rates sufficient to fund all operations, maintenance, capital and the debt service needs of water and sewer funds within the city.

Commission members were told total operating costs for water are expected to increase four percent, per year.

In addition, it’s expected the city will be facing nearly $3 million in required capital improvement projects over the next ten years.

For sewer operations, it’s expected a general increase of nearly three percent with a ten-year capital outlay projection of just under $11 million.

In making the new rate evaluations, the report said researchers tested dozens of rate alternatives. It was pointed out water rates would most likely reflect more complex costs and usage patterns, depending on commercial or residential needs.

Factors used in determining the recommendations included revenue stability, customer impact, equity and affordability.

Imlay City receives their water supply from the Great Lakes Water Authority. They have a hand in determining what water rates will be in the communities they serve.

Four usage rates were identified in the report: affordability rate for all that use under 10,000 gallons per quarter, standard rate for those that use over 10,000 gallons per quarter, the Vlasic rate that reflects significant impact based on peak usage and other factors and finally, an irrigation rate that reflects peak usage such as watering lawns and gardens or washing vehicles.

In general, water users can expect a 7.5% increase each year for the next four years. Likewise, for sewer rates, users can expect a 10% increase annually in each of the next four years.

“We felt it was important to get this information out there to the public,” said City Manager Craig Horton. “We wanted to be in front of this, not behind.”

DPW Supervisor Ed Priehs said residents can request a second water meter, if they wish, to monitor irrigation usage for lawns and gardens.

Priehs said an effort was made to replace aging water meters throughout town that were around 25 years old.

The city has approximately 1,600 water and sewer customers.