Works board backs 16.9% hike in village sewer rate

Proposal to raise average annual bill by $72 will go to Village Boad on Aug. 22
Ozaukee Press Staff

The Grafton Board of Public Works on Monday unanimously endorsed a 16.9% increase in the village sewer rate this year, part of a five-year phased-in increase.

The average annual sewer bill would increase by $72.60 — from $425.30 to $497.90 — for 2018. The hike is being 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 the commercial and residential growth in the village, the amount of water sold by the village Water and Wastewater Utility decreased by 87.2 million gallons during the past 15 years, dropping from 412.6 million gallons in 2000 to 325.4 million gallons in 2015, according to the study.

Last year, the Village Board approved a 12.5% water rate increase along with annual sewer rate increase through 2021. The board agreed to review the sewer rate increase each year. This year’s increase was proposed to be 15% after a 20% increase in 2017.

The decrease in sewer use account for a $202,574 loss in revenue for the utility, the study said.

To makeup for the shortfall, Trilogy recommended a revised sewer rate increase of 16.9% for this year, with annual increases of 15.3%, 15% and 0% in 2019, 2020 and 2021, respectively.

Officials said they expect those numbers to be higher, while the water rate increase would remain at 12.5%.

Public Works Facility Operations Coordinator Larry Roy 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 east-side commercial district, those operations are relatively efficient water users. Several manufacturing companies, historically the largest water users, are no longer in operation.

Public Works Committee Chairman Tom Krueger suggested including a flyer explaining the increase in the next water and sewer bill. 

The Village Board will vote on the sewer rate increase on Monday, Aug. 22.



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