Utility rates are reviewed and set annually by the City Council based upon the operating costs, debt service requirements, and capital needs of the water, sewer, and storm water enterprise funds.

How Do the Utilities Benefit Me and the Larger Community?

The direct benefit of water and sewer utilities to the residences that receive those services is apparent. They receive convenient, clean, treated water; don’t have the hassle of maintaining a septic system; and receive improved fire protection because of fire hydrants. However, all residents also have the benefit of a better protected water resources. Water and sewer utility fees pay for the ongoing water and sewer treatment costs and the maintenance of existing infrastructure.

In addition to water and sewer utilities, the city also maintains a storm water utility. The storm water utility benefits the community by providing a dedicated fund for storm water management activities. Benefits associated with storm water management include:

  • Flood protection
  • Water quality improvements
  • Wetland protection
  • Erosion and sediment control
  • Drainage system construction and maintenance
  • Community education
  • Improved fish, wildlife, and recreational opportunities

The storm water utility fee is charged against all developed parcels within the City based on the premise of “contributors pay.” Where land is in a natural state, most rain soaks into the ground or is retained in small depressions. Where development has been prevalent, rooftops, driveways, and parking lots prevent rainfall from soaking into the ground. The rain runs off into streets, ditches, ponds and lakes, creating the need for drainage systems and to protect the quality of our water resources. Developed parcels with water and/or sewer utility service pay this fee monthly; developed parcels without water and/or sewer service pay this fee annually.

Why are the Utility Fees Increasing?

Water and sewer fees were last increased in 2011 and, over time, the cost of service has also increased due to normal price inflation and added infrastructure. While much of new infrastructure has been funded through special assessments, WAC/SAC fees, and in certain cases sales tax revenue, maintenance of the utilities is paid through monthly utility fees.

Storm water rates were last increased in 2017. When the Utility Fund was created in 2006, the City’s storm water infrastructure was relatively undeveloped. The 2018 rate increase is necessary to properly maintain the current system, continue infrastructure development, and address new state and federal pollution and environment related mandates. With intensified storm activities and higher water levels, the need for proper storm water management is becoming increasingly important.

The new rates will take effect with March bills, which are for the February time and usage period.

How Much is the Utility Fee Increasing?

2017 February 2018
Existing Rate New Rate
Residential
For customer who pay:
Monthly
Water base fee  $           10.78  $            11.20
Water consumption (per 1,000 gallons)                  2.82                  2.85
Sewer base fee                13.02                13.62
Sewer consumption (per 1,000 gallons)                  3.64                  3.66
Storm water                  2.32                  2.67
Water plant fee (up to 15,000 gallons)*                  3.00                  3.00
Minnesota water test fee                  0.53                  0.53
Sample monthly bill (4,000 gallons consumption)  $           55.49  $           57.06
Annual storm water  $           27.84  $           32.04
(for residents who don’t have city water and sewer service)
Commercial
Water and sewer service:
Water base fee  $           25.65  $           26.65
Water consumption (per 1,000 gallons)                  2.82                  2.85
Sewer base fee                26.02                27.40
Sewer consumption (per 1,000 gallons)                  3.64                  3.66
Water plant fee (up to 15,000 gallons)*                  4.50                  4.50
Minnesota water test fee                  0.53                  0.53
Storm water service:
Base charge/sq ft of impervious surface/year  $         0.0116  $         0.0133
Sample monthly fee for a 10,000 sq ft property  $             9.67  $            11.08
* The water plant fee varies for residential and commercial customers. The complete rate sheet can be found on the City’s fee schedule.

 

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