Q: How does a resident or business set up or cancel City utility service?
A: Please complete either the application or termination form in order to set up or cancel service. These forms may be found on our website here and are also available at City Hall. If you use the website to access the forms you may either print the PDF version and mail/fax/drop off to us or use the web version of the form to submit it online. Please note if you have a residential account, you are required to provide us with your beginning and/or final water meter reading. If you are completing the form before the effective date of the change you can call (218) 454-5121 or email email@example.com with the reading once you have it.
Q: I leave Baxter for the winter and go somewhere much warmer! What are my options for my utility bill?
A: If you are leaving Baxter for the winter, you have two options for your water bill. They are as follows:
- Keep your water on and pay the minimum bill each month, which is currently $31.37 for water and sewer. We will put in 0 gallons usage each month and when you return home we will resume entering the actual readings you send. With this option, you can have the monthly bill sent to your out-of-town address, or we can estimate the total due for the time you are gone before you leave and you can pre-pay your account.
- Turn your water off for the time that you are away. City staff will turn off the water at the street. The charge is $15.00 to turn the water off and $15.00 to turn the water back on when you return. During the months that the water is off, the monthly bill will be $3.44 for storm water and MN test fee. Instead of billing you monthly for this amount, we will figure it into your final bill for the season so you don’t have to worry about receiving a bill while you are away. If you elect this option, there is a form at City hall on our website here you will need to complete.
Q: How often will I receive my bill?
A: All utility customers in the City of Baxter are billed on a monthly basis. The bills are sent around the 20th of each month and due on the 10th of the following month.
Q: How can I pay my bill?
A: You may mail your bill, pay your bill with cash or check at the front desk in City Hall located at 13190 Memorywood Drive, leave your bill and payment in the after-hours drop box outside our front door or sign up for auto pay service.
Many customers opt to use their bank’s bill pay service to pay their utility bill.
We do not accept credit or debit cards for payment.
Q: Do I have to pay sewer charges on water I am using outside during the summer?
A: The City of Baxter bills for an averaged sewer consumption during the usage months of June, July, and August on residential accounts. Consumption from October, November, and December from the prior year are averaged and sewer charges during the three summer months are based upon this average consumption. If you are a new customer without account history we use 4,000 gallons for your average sewer consumption until an account history is established. Of course, if you actually use less water than your averaged sewer amount you will be charged the lesser amount.
Please note this is only in effect for June, July, and August usage. Any water used outside during other months, such as May and September, will be charged with the full sewer amount. As an alternative, the City encourages customers who irrigate outside to purchase a separate irrigation water meter for the most accurate results. These customers are charged the irrigation rate for outdoor water usage only and sewer charges do not apply.
Please call Utility Billing at (218) 454-5121 if you have any questions.
Q: How do leaks affect my bill?
A: Leaks can be costly – even the smallest leak can cause a spike in water bills. A pin-hole size leak can amount to losing 185 gallons per day which equates to a loss of 5,550 gallons per month. It is highly recommended to have any leak repaired by a licensed plumber.
Toilets are most often the cause of high water bills. To check if your toilet is running, place a few drops of food coloring in the tank of your toilet. Let the toilet sit for 15 minutes and check the bowl. If the color appears in the bowl without flushing the toilet, you have a leak. There are also free leak detector tablets at City Hall that work similar to using food coloring.
Q: My bill has increased dramatically, why?
A: There can be many reasons for an increase in your water bill. First, check the current reading on your water meter. If it is less than the “present reading” printed on your bill then the reading last month was incorrect. Call Utility Billing at (218) 454-5121 with your current reading to have your bill adjusted. If you find your new reading is more than the “present reading” printed on your bill that means you were billed for the correct usage. Also, if your meter readings had been estimated in the past and then we received an actual reading for the current bill, we may be catching up on your reading due to underestimating prior months.
If your meter readings were not the problem, you must now determine what caused your bill to increase.
First, did you do any lawn irrigation or outside watering? If so, this is most likely the reason for the increase in your bill. It is surprising to some people how much water can actually be used for lawn irrigation, especially if you have an in-ground sprinkler system. If the bill is for usage in June, July, or August you will be billed for an average sewer amount, however, if it is for any other month you will be billed the full sewer charges. The City recommends installing a separate water meter for irrigation purposes. You will then be charged only for the water irrigation rate on this meter based upon the actual water usage and no sewer charges will apply.
If you did not do any outside watering, then you most likely have a leak somewhere. Most often it is a toilet, so we recommend checking them first. To check if your toilet is running, place a few drops of food coloring in the tank of your toilet. Let the toilet sit for 15 minutes and check the bowl. If the color appears in the bowl without flushing the toilet you have a leak. There are also free leak detector tablets at City Hall that work similar to using food coloring.
If your toilets are not a problem, check your water meter when no appliances or faucets are running. Open the meter register cover and shine a flashlight for a second to activate the display. If the meter reading is increasing, when you are not using any water in the house it means water is running somewhere you are not aware of. We suggest you call a licensed plumber to help diagnose and fix the problem.