The Richmond City Council approved an ordinance in June that increases the city’s waste water fees by five dollars. That ordinance goes into effect on Wednesday. “The five dollars will be added to a customer’s base rate to help pay off the debt incurred from our Waste Water Treatment Project. The increase will take our base rate to about $10.09,” said City Administrator Ron Brohammer.
The recent rate change is the first in a series of three increases. “We anticipate that a customer’s bill will go up a second time by about five dollars in March or April of 2013. The third increase is expected to be in 2014. However, fee structures will depend on the city’s repayment plan,” Brohammer said. A customer’s monthly base rate could reach $20 by the time the city pays back the money they intended to borrow.
The increases don’t come as much of a surprise, because residents twice stamped “approved” on the project. Two bond issues totaling $9.7 million were passed by voters in 2010 and 2011. The city is financing the project with money borrowed from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other commercial lenders, as well as a Community Development Block Grant for $500,000.
The city’s multimillion dollar project mainly focuses on expanding the south sewer treatment facility. The designs also include closing the city’s north plant and converting it to a high-capacity lift station.