Beaver Dam Sewer Rate Increase Advances Out Of Committee

(Beaver Dam) The Beaver Dam Operations Committee signed-off on a sewer rate increase Monday night that, if approved by the common council, will cost residential sewer utility customers – on average – $81 more per year.

Director of Utilities Rob Minnema says there are two factors driving the increase. Projections of revenues from large industrial customers made four years ago were too low, leading to a budgetary shortfall.

Also, video camera’s run through sewer lines found the infrastructure to be in worse shape than once thought.

A rate study to address the funding shortfall determined that an additional $997-thousand dollars in annual revenue is needed, which is a 35-percent overall increase.

The percentage increases vary among the customer base. Residential customers would be seeing a 50-percent increase on their bills; commercial customers are looking at a 43-percent hike; public customers would be paying 40-percent more and industrial customers would contribute an additional 15-percent.

Because of high usage, that average industrial customer currently pays $353-thousand dollars per-quarter and would be paying an additional $52-thousand dollars quarterly if the increase is approved. Residential customers would see an approximately $20.25 increase on their quarterly bill.

Last year, a rate hike hit residential water customers to the tune of around $12-per quarter on average. Unlike a water rate increase, however, the city does not need approval from the state Public Service Commission for sewer increases.

The last sewer rate increase in Beaver Dam took effect in January of 2015. Rate payers saw a 39-percent increase at that time, which translated to around $9-per quarter or $36-per year more on average.

Minnema says even with the increase, Beaver Dam would still have lower sewer rates than most similar-sized communities in the region.

The sewer rate increase is expected to come before the common council at their December 17th meeting.