Village raises water and sewer usage rates

water fountainStillwater village residents, and some town residents, will see an increase in their water usage rates come October under action taken this month by the Board of Trustees. The sewer rates were also raised for village residents.

Trustees passed resolutions at their monthly meeting on August 18 to increase the water usage rate for village residents from $4.12 per 1,000 gallons to $4.50 per $1,000 gallons, and the sewer rate from $3.98 per 1,000 to $4.50 per 1,000.

The water rate for outside users was also raised from $6.00 per 1,000 gallons to $6.38 per 1,000. The town has a contract to buy water from the village through 2016 for its Water District No. 1.

The rate increases, the first in several years, were needed to protect against potential budget deficits in those accounts and keep finances in order. Village water rates were last increased in 2012, and the sewer rates in 2007.

“I would argue this should have been done years ago,” said Trustee John Murphy, who was reappointed to the Village Board last spring under Mayor Rick Nelson’s new administration.

Also affecting the budget, said Village Clerk Sheristin “Sher” Tedesco, is the loss of Stillwater Hydro from the village tax rolls to the tune of about $10,000 annually, following the expiration of a 10-year agreement with the village. Increasing the sewer rate by 52 cents per 1,000 will raise another $20,000-$30,000 in overall revenues per year, she said, helping to make up for that loss and put the village on stronger financial footing in future years.

The rate hikes will mean that the average village resident can expect to pay about $28 more per year for water, or $14 more per billing cycle. The average sewer rate will increase about $36 per year or $18 per billing cycle.

Village water and sewer usage is billed twice a year — October 1 and April 1. The new water and sewer rates will become effective for the October 1, 2015 billing.