Grafton water rate hike comes in less than expected

PSC allows increase, but not what village requested
Ozaukee Press Staff

New water rates are coming in lower than initially expected after the Grafton Village Board approved increasing the rates last May.

The Board of Public Works last week reviewed the Wisconsin Public Service Commission’s final decision, which calls for a lower rate increase than the Village Board requested.

Last May, the Village Board approved a 12.5% increase in water rates for larger adjustments in fixed-water charges, to ensure the operations and maintenance for the Water Utility Department’s self-funded operations and maintenance would have enough reserve funds for future projects.

The PSC report said a typical residential customer’s bill would increase by 8.72%, noting individual bills might not have the exact same percentage increase because the charges depend on specific usage rates.  

The proposal to increase the water rate was driven by a significant decrease in water and sewer use, based on a study conducted by Trilogy Consulting of Milwaukee.

Although difficult to believe considering commercial and residential growth in the village, officials said, the amount of water sold by the Village Water and Wastewater Utility decreased by 87.2 million gallons over 15 years, dropping from 412.6 million in 2000 to 325.4 million in 2015, according to the study.

The decrease in water use and the related sewer use account for a $709,123 loss in revenue for the water and wastewater utility, the study said.

Village Administrator Jesse Thyes said that while the village has experienced significant growth since 2000, including the opening of Aurora Medical Center in 2010 and large retail stores in the eastside commercial district, those operations are relatively efficient water users. Several manufacturing companies, historically the largest water users, are no longer in operation.



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