Last night, Brighton City Council approved rate changes for water and sewer services. The new rates, which go into effect with utility bills issued after Jan. 1, include changes to both fixed rates and volumetric usage rates for water and sewer, as well as an increase to the storm water drainage fee.
For residential consumers the fixed fee will now be $16 per month for water, up $1, and $12.50 per month for sewer, up $1.55. The fixed storm drainage fee will be $5 per month, up $1 from 2016.
For volumetric rates on water, a tiered system will be still be in effect. There will be no change in the water rate for the first 3,000 gallons of usage; remaining at $2.80 per 1,000 gallons of usage. Rates for higher volumetric usage will increase by 7 percent. Wastewater volumetric fees will increase from $4.58 to $4.76 per 1,000 gallons of sewer, a 3.9 percent increase.
Residential consumers can now expect to pay a total utility bill (water, sewer, and storm water combined) of $60.78 per month if they use 3,000 gallons of water, down $5.07 from 2016; and $187.38 per month for 25,000 gallons of water, up $12.13 from 2016. Commercial users can anticipate similar increases to their water and sewer fixed fees and volumetric rates.
“The approved rates for 2017 are consistent with rate projections made in 2014. Rate increases are an unfortunate cost of doing business; commodity and materials prices are increasing, and our infrastructure is aging. We need to address water, wastewater, and storm water system design and operational concerns, while maintaining safe and prudent financial reserves consistent with industry best practices” said the City of Brighton’s Director of Utilities, Curtis Bauers.
In addition to working to restore the reserves to fiscally prudent levels, the City is also anticipating the need to address the following capital projects over the next several years: Storage Tank Repairs $6.6 million (water); Treatment Plant $20.4 million (water); Water Line Replacement $6.3 million (water); Sewer Line Repair/Replacement $5.9 million (wastewater); Storm Water Outfall $2.2 million (storm); And other Storm Water Improvements $1.6 million (storm).
The City has resources available to help residents lower their water bills. The Lifeline Rate was established to help keep bills manageable for residential customers using up to 3,000 gallons of water each month. This program is geared toward smaller homes with one or two occupants.
The Good Neighbor Fund program provides assistance available for customers experiencing difficult financial situation. Since its inception, the Good Neighbor Fund Program has helped more than 48 citizens who’ve encountered a temporary financial crisis – totaling more than $12,000. There are currently only 254 Brighton utility customers signed up to contribute through their monthly water bill roundups.
Additional water and cost-saving techniques include turning off water when brushing teeth or shaving, budget billing, taking shorter showers, installing high efficiency appliances and toilets, fixing leaks in fixtures, installing a smart irrigation system and more.
To see a full listing the utility rates in 2017, please visit www.brightonco.gov/296/Water-Rates. For questions regarding utility charges, please call 303-655-2009.