Port council OKs 18% sewer rate hike

Increase that will cost average homeowner $7.50 more per bill will help pay for needed treatment plant improvements estimated to cost $8.2 million

PORT WASHINGTON OFFICIALS are planning for $8.2 million in improvements to the city’s wastewater treatment plant, and on Tuesday the Common Council agreed to increase sewer rates to pay for the work. Press file photo
By 
KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM
Ozaukee Press staff

Sewer rates in the City of Port Washington will increase beginning March 1.

The Common Council on Tuesday approved an 18% increase in the flat fee charged to residents and a 4.8% increase in the metered rate, which is charged based on the amount of water used.

The flat fee will increase from $32.86 to $38.77 every two months, while the metered rate will increase from $3.30 per 100 cubic feet to $3.46.

The average homeowner in the city will pay an additional $3.75 a month, or $7.50 per bi-monthly water bill, officials said.

While the increase will take effect March 1, residents won’t see the impact until they receive their May water bill.

The rate hikes are part of a three-part increase that the city began to impose last year in order to cover the cost of needed capital improvements at the wastewater treatment plant, Public Works Director Rob Vanden Noven said.

Last year, the city increased the sewer rate by 3%, he noted, and it expects to increase the fees another 6.5% in 2023.

Despite those increases, the city will continue to have one of the lowest sewer rates in the area, officials said.

“These sound like very large increases,” Mayor Ted Neitzke said. “But Port Washington is very, very competitive in our sewer rates. If we lived in Cedarburg, we’d be paying more. In Grafton, it’s almost double.”

The council also approved a $466,000 contract with Strand Engineering to prepare a facilities report, a preliminary engineering report, develop the design and handle bidding for the improvements at the wastewater plant.

The improvements are intended to update the plant, improving processes and efficiencies there and increase the plant’s ability to handle treatment during wet weather.

“The items to be replaced are about 30 years old,” Vanden Noven said. “A number of pieces are near the end of their life.”

Other changes will increase safety, he added.

Three projects are already underway — installation of an ultraviolet light system, standby generator and blower system.

The total cost of the improvements, including the three projects already underway, is expected to be $8.2 million

Design work for the project is expected to begin in April, with bidding set to be done next January.

Contracts would be awarded in February, 2023, with construction slated to start in April.

The project is expected to be substantially completed in September 2024 with final completion slated for November 2024.

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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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