Glenwood Springs hikes water, sewer rates |

Glenwood Springs hikes water, sewer rates

Pete Fowler
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” People on the city’s water and sewer systems will have to pay more in order to fund a new wastewater treatment plant and improvements and repairs to the existing systems.

Users will see a 10 percent rate increase in water fees and a 20 percent increase in sewer fees. They’ll begin with the first billing cycle that starts this month.

“They’re basically for capital improvements and for operations and maintenance of the water and wastewater facilities,” said city manager Jeff Hecksel.

The driving factor behind increases in wastewater rates is the planned relocation of the city’s existing wastewater treatment plant from near downtown to West Glenwood. Design work is currently under way, and it’s hoped that construction on the new plant will begin in 2010, he added.

The new plant will go in on the south side of the Colorado River near the western edge of the city. It’ll be about as far west as possible before heading into South Canyon. It’s expected to cost $30 million to build, Hecksel said.

“Unfortunately, it would have been great if the city had recognized this obligation 10, 12 years ago and started adjusting rates then and we wouldn’t be looking at these kinds of rate increases,” Hecksel said.

Besides relocating the wastewater treatment plant, a consultant’s 2006 study estimated another $16.4 million would be needed in water and wastewater improvements through 2014. It says operating costs have increased due to inflation and government regulation.

The City Council approved the rate increase unanimously Thursday night. Councilor Kris Chadwick was absent.

“I think the benefits of getting a new plant go far beyond the costs,” said Councilor Dave Sturges.

Mayor Bruce Christensen said, “Unfortunately, I don’t think we have a lot of choice here, but we’re still in the ball park and not asking our citizens to pay more than other communities are.”

The base rate for residential water bills will increase from $8.47 to $9.32 per month. That’s more than Aspen’s $5.59 per month but cheaper than Silt’s $34.48 per month, according to a chart prepared by Glenwood Springs.

Residential users are charged another $1.60 per thousand gallons on top of the base rate up to 5,500 gallons, at which point the rate structure increases. Rates will jump from $21.30 to $23.45 at 8,000 gallons a month. At 16,000 gallons a month, the fee will increase from $36.82 to $40.49 per month.

Wastewater rate increases will hit the wallet a little harder. The base rate will go from $25.56 to $30.67 per month for residential users.

Glenwood has about 3,400 water and 2,500 sewer customers in and around the city limits.

Contact Pete Fowler: 384-9121

Post Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO

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