August 23, 2019

West Branch planning to increase water rates


WEST BRANCH — Since the city council accepted the low bid for a $975,000 loan with an interest rate of 4.9 percent from First Bank for the arsenic mitigation project at a special meeting July 13, the city water rates will now be increased to cover the debt payment.

The January 2010 bill will reflect the $1.04 per 1,000 gallons increase on city water.

“The January bill will have the increase on it, but the increase needs to be done before Oct. 1 because that’s when the new quarter starts,” City Clerk Jane Tennant said.

There will be a public hearing scheduled regarding the increase after the council introduces the ordinance, which may be in September.

“We’re not required to do that, but it is our practice on any rate increase to hold a public hearing,” Tennant said.

To ease customers into the rate increase, the city’s financial advisor is looking at a different rate structure than the current minimum fee, which is the same cost for 0-10,000 gallons used. The financial advisor is looking at different numbers for the city to figure out a ready-to-serve fee, which means customers would still pay a minimum bill even if no water was used, but would then be billed for the actual amount used thereafter.

“We will no longer have that 0 to 10,000 (gallon) minimum bill,” Tennant said.

Sewer rates will also be increasing for city residents eventually, which is necessary due to the improvement project that the city is currently working on. However, City Manager Tom Youatt said that at this time, the new sewer rates have not been determined.


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