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Sewer rates dip, but will increase in future

Jan. 24, 2012

Sanitary sewer rates took a slight dip this year, but a hefty hike is on the horizon.

"Because of significant investments coming up, it might be the last time for some time we see a decrease," City Administrator James Archambo said.

The Common Council unanimously approved the 2012 sewer rates last week. The average homeowner will pay $307 this year, down 0.9 percent or about $3 from 2011.

Sanitary sewer rates are made up of per-gallon usage and connection charges from Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District and a local water consumption charge.

The MMSD portion of the bill is where the decrease can be found. The per-gallon rate will increase by 0.2 percent while the connection charge will decrease between 3.3 and 5 percent per customer

The city could increase rates and collect some money to put toward future capital improvements, but city staff recommended keeping its portion of the bill flat. The $70,000 that could be collected citywide is so small compared to the millions of dollars needed in future years to fix sanitary sewers that it wouldn't make much of an impact, said John Ruggini, city finance director.

Assuming the city follows its five-year Capital Improvement Program, the rates are expected to increase an average of 6.9 percent per year for the next decade, he said.

At a glance

The following is a look at the changes to the average Wauwatosa resident's quarterly sewer bill.

Local charges$27.38$27.38$34.50$36.67$36.67
Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District charges$32.08$36.26$38.30$40.71$40.03
Total quarterly charges$59.46$63.64$72.80$77.38$76.70
Overall percentage change22.8%7%14.4%6.3%-0.9%

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