#6 News Story: Council OKs water, sewer rate increases

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

The Eureka Springs City Council spent

much of the spring focusing on the water

and sewer rates. The rates needed to increase,

Mayor Butch Berry said, because

citizens rejected a proposed 1-cent sales

tax in November 2016 that would have

helped the city meet its bond covenants

for sewer and water.

The council considered three options

for increasing the rates. Those options

were increasing water and sewer rates 30

percent across the board, establishing a

bond service fee or increasing the sewer

rate by 21 percent and applying a usage

fee to the final bill. The council approved

the third option on April 24, with a handout

detailing the increases.

According to the handout, there were

1,885 water and sewer accounts in 2016,

with 792 accounts in Tier 1 (42 percent),

848 accounts in Tier 2 (45 percent) and

246 accounts in

Tier 3 (13 percent).

Tier 1 includes

those who

use less than 2,000

gallons of water a

month, Tier 2 includes

those who

use between 2,000

and 10,000 gallons

and Tier 3 includes those who use

10,000 gallons and up.

The handout described how the changes

will affect the average water and sewer

bill of a consumer in each tier. The average

monthly bill of a consumer in Tier 1

is $20.70, with $11.20 going toward water

and $9.50 going toward sewer. The handout

said the sewer rate would go up to

$11.49 with the 21 percent increase along

with a $5 usage fee, making the average

bill of a Tier 1 consumer $27.69. That is

an increase of $6.99 per month.

The average monthly bill of a consumer

in Tier 2 is $51.31, with $24.48 going

toward water and $26.84 going toward

sewer. The handout said the sewer rate

would go up to $32.47 with the 21 percent

increase along with a $10 usage fee, making

the average bill of a Tier 2 consumer

$66.95. That is an increase of $15.63 per

month.

The average monthly bill of a consumer

in Tier 3 is $2,606.93, with $1,176.32

going toward water and $1,430.61 going

toward sewer. The handout said the sewer

rate would go up to $1,731.03 with the 21

percent increase along with a $50 usage

fee, making the average bill of a Tier 3

consumer $2,957.35. That is an increase

of $350.42 per month.

The 21 percent sewer increase and

tier-based service fee would bring in

$459,775 per year, the handout said. The

increase was

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