Greenville OKs 10% sewage rate hike

By Kelli Ameling • Last Updated 10:33 am on Wednesday, March 06, 2013

GREENVILLE — City residents will notice an increase in sewer rates, which will go into affect in April.

At Tuesday’s meeting, the Greenville City Council approved a 10 percent mid-year rate increase to the sewer rates for city residents.

“A family of four would see about a $4 increase per quarter, totaling about $16 per year,” said Greenville City Manager George Bosanic.

Bosanic said the increase in rates comes after the sewer fund revenues have not kept up with expenses over the years, causing the fund balance to dwindle.

The plan was for the council to possibly consider and increase in the 2014 fiscal year, but because the balance is decreasing rapidly, the decision had to be looked at this year.

Bosanic explained the main reason for the decrease in revenues is because of the increase in utility costs for the city.

The last time the city had to raise the sewer rates was in 2010 when it was raised 5 percent. Bosanic pointed out that same year, Consumers Energy raised its rates by 11 percent, which, with increasing utility rates this year, the city had to look at the option sooner.

According to documents provided by Bosanic, the increase is projected to yield about $35,000 to $45,000 in revenue now through the end of the fiscal year.

Bosanic stressed this is not a 10 percent increase on the resident’s total bill that includes sewer, trash and water, but strictly a 10 percent increase on the sewer rate itself.

“You have made it is clear if (the city) doesn’t do something, the fund balance will continue to decrease, and you have made it clear the city has worked internally to reduce the cost,” said Mayor Pro Tem Frances Schuleit to Bosanic. “In the future, can the rates be re-evaluated?”

Bosanic said the sewer rates will be discussed during upcoming budget sessions to see what the city wants to do. If the increase brings in enough revenue to keep things afloat, there is a possibility the rates could be lowered.

However, if expenses continue to be greater than revenues, Bosanic said the city may have to discussion other options — such as annual increases and more.

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