The Parker Town Council approved a resolution June 5 adopting a Notice of Intention to raise the Town’s water rates. A public hearing on raising the rates has been set for July 17.

The increase is part of a planned program of phased increases that began in the 2016-17 fiscal year. Phased increases was recommended in a 2016 Water Rate Study by the firm of Hinton Burdick CPAs & Associates. The goal was to increase water rates gradually in order to cover the costs of the system, handle capital needs, and create funding reserves without too much of a burden on system users.

As an example of the phased rate increases, a customer with a one-and-a-half inch meter paid a monthly base charge of $15.40 in fiscal year 2017-18. That will increase to $15.95 in FY 2018-19. It’s scheduled to increase to $16.40 in FY 2019-20.

For residential customers using 25,000 gallons or less per month, the charge will increase from $2.27 per 1,000 gallons to $2.36 per 1,000 gallons. It’s scheduled to increase to $2.43 per 1,000 gallons in FY 2019-20.

For commercial users, the fee for the first 6,000 gallons per month will be increased from $1.86 per 1,000 gallons to $1.93 per 1,000 gallons. After 6,000 gallons, the charge will increase from $2.40 to $2.49 per 1,000 gallons.

Council members asked Town Manager Lori Wedemeyer if the proposed increases were part of the rate structure they adopted in 2016. Wedemeyer replied that they were, but the Town still has to go through the state’s legally mandated process to increase water rates.

The process of adopting phased-in rate increases began in April 2015. Parker Town Manager Lori Wedemeyer told the council at the time the town operated the water department at a loss in FY 2013-14. The Utility Enterprise Fund, which consists of revenue from water bills, had revenues of $606,835 and expenditures of $648,914 for a loss of $42,079.

Wedemeyer said the decline in the utility fund was the result of the town not having adjusted its water rates for five years. Later in the meeting, the council authorized the staff to solicit proposals for a water rate study for the Town.

The Town’s 2017-18 budget has the Utility Enterprise Fund (the water department) budgeted at $844,640.

Full details on the proposed water rate increases are available at Town Hall, 1314 11th Street.

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