Consumer relief: Carbondale water rate hike halved |

Consumer relief: Carbondale water rate hike halved

CARBONDALE, Colorado – What was planned to be a 3 percent annual water/wastewater rate hike was cut in half by Carbondale town trustees at their Nov. 24 meeting, as a way of bringing some financial relief to town residents.

“I think it would be nice to give some relief to people this coming year,” Trustee John Hoffmann said in making the suggestion to suspend the rate increase altogether for one year.

“It’s not a lot, but it could be that one last straw for some people,” he said.

Hoffmann noted that the town’s water/wastewater fund is one of the healthiest funds, contrary to a significant downturn in general fund revenues that has led to numerous budget cuts for 2010.

“I think it’s one little thing we can afford to do, to help people out,” Hoffmann said.

Town staff had proposed a 3 percent rate increase for water and wastewater service next year.

The board of trustees, on a 4-1 vote, compromised with a 1.5 percent rate hike instead.

“At some point we are going to need a new wastewater plant, and we need to keep building up that fund,” Trustee Frosty Merriott urged.

Public Utilities Director Mark O’Meara added that the cost of operations for water and wastewater facilities continues to go up, which is why the annual rate hike is recommended.

Town Manager Tom Baker said the town could recover if the rate increase is adjusted downward for one year.

At 3 percent, the new monthly base rate for in-town residential and commercial water customers would have been $16.83 each, and for out-of-town users $25.24, plus the incremental charge based on water usage. Wastewater rates would have been $10.83 and $16.23, respectively, under the original proposal.

Those rates will now be slightly less given the agreed-to 1.5 percent increase.

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