New Castle budget, water and sewer rates on tap tonight
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO
NEW CASTLE, Colorado – The town council will be discussing whether to raise water and sewer rates slightly in response to declining revenues, in its regular meeting tonight.
The council also is expected to adopt the proposed 2012 budget, which calls for total expenditures of nearly $2.4 million, compared to $2.55 million in 2011.
The meeting, which begins at 7 p.m. in Town Hall at 450 Main, will be the final public hearing prior to adoption of the budget.
The hike in water and sewer rates, according to Town Administrator Andy Barton, is mainly to make up for losses in revenues to the town’s water and sewer enterprise fund.
The town built a new water and wastewater treatment plant in 2009, Barton explained. The project is funded by bonds.
“We had hoped to cover the debt service with tap fees,” he said.
But with the recession and stalled home construction, he said, “Our tap fees have pretty much evaporated in the last couple of years.”
Barton said the town cut staff and trimmed its budget to make up for lost revenues. Now, rate hikes are needed to make those payments.
He maintained that New Castle’s water rates are relatively low compared to neighboring communities, and that the rate hikes are not substantial.
For example, the rate hike for the minimum monthly charge for water service, which includes up to 12,000 gallons, will amount to approximately 6.8 percent for in-town users, from $22.05 per month to $23.55 per month.
Monthly usage per household above the 12,000-gallon mark gets progressively more expensive, from $2.25 for each additional thousand gallons up to 20,000, to $21 for each additional thousand gallons over 40,000 gallons.
For out-of-town users of New Castle’s water and wastewater systems, rates are somewhat higher.
Concerning the budget discussion, Barton said one topic likely to come up is the town’s annual funding for the River Center outreach facility for those in need of assistance of different kinds.
Barton said the town council decided in late October to fund the River Center separately from other community organizations and nonprofits that annually request financial assistance.
The River Center grant was for $3,000 in 2011, Barton said, and for 2012 the organization has requested $6,500.
He said the council is likely to discuss that contribution at tonight’s meeting.
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