First, the bad news. Next year, the city estimates that residential users will pay 5.7 percent more for water, according to City Manager Mary Suhm's latest budget briefing (page 35). Wilonsky told you it was coming, right after the city hiked rates last year, again more than five percent.
The briefing doesn't delve too deeply into why, stating only that it's to "continue commitment to provide high quality and sufficient water and wastewater service to meet customer needs." The briefing from August is more specific. Mostly the pipeline project to Lake Palestine and improvements to outdated pipes and water treatment plants.
Now, the good news. This year's increase will be less than the 7.3 percent Suhm predicted in August.
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"Years out, our predictions are pretty broad, so we'll continue to fine tune," Suhm said.
Also, the projected increase for the year after next is only 3.8 percent. That's barely half of the 6.7 percent slated for next year, which is good in away.
The briefing only covered residential rates. Councilman Scott Griggs asked Suhm for information about rates paid by commercial and industrial users, which she promised to provide.
"I just want to see that we're not putting all the burden on our residents," Griggs said. "I want to see that cost shared by everyone we supply water to. It appears that residential is doing their fair share."