Columbus approves 10 percent increase water/sewer rates

Published 10:02 pm Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Columbus water and sewer customers will see an increase in rates soon as the town approved its new budget with a 10 percent rate increase.
Columbus Town Council met Tuesday, June 10 and approved the new budget for fiscal year 2014-2015 following a public hearing.
The new budget includes the water and sewer rate increase and a 1.5-cent increase in the fire tax, which the Polk County Board of Commissioners approved during its budget process.
The water/sewer increase was implemented to help pay for infrastructure improvements in the water and sewer systems, particularly the debt service for the wastewater treatment plant rehabilitation that is currently being done.
Other infrastructure improvements to be paid for by the increase include fire hydrants in the Beechwood subdivision and the repair of the Mallard Dr. waterline.
The last increase to Columbus’ water rates was in the 2010-2011 fiscal year. Sewer rates have increased slightly in anticipation of the wastewater treatment plant rehabilitation debt service.
With the increase, the new minimum water rate for an inside, residential customer is $18.32 for a 3,000-gallon minimum and $2.67 per each 1,000 gallons after.
The new sewer rate for an inside, residential customer is $26.51 for a 3,000-gallon minimum, and $3.98 per each 1,000 gallons after. The new minimum bill for an inside water and sewer customer combined will be $44.83, which is an increase of $4.09 per month per customer. Council noted the total increase for an inside city limit customer will be less than $50 per year.
The new rates will be reflected in customers’ August billing cycle.
Columbus’ general fund tax rate will remain the same but because of the increase in the fire tax rate, the town’s total tax rate will increase to 41.5 cents (from 40 cents) per $100 of property valuation. Of the tax rate, 6.5 cents per $100 of property valuation will be dedicated to fire service.
Columbus is expecting a total of $1,123,850 in general fund revenues and $1,169,497 in enterprise fund (water/sewer) revenues next fiscal year.
Council also approved the town’s fee schedule last week during the budget approval.
The new budget year begins next Tuesday, July 1.

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