Juneau Sewer Rates To Increase

(Juneau) The Juneau Common Council approved an increase in sewer rates Tuesday night. The city-owned utility experienced $50-thousand dollars in red ink in the past year. Mayor Dan Wegener says the six percent increase in the monthly service charge and the total volume charge is needed to get the wastewater fund on solid ground. Part of the reason for the shortfall, he says, is the increased costs that have come with treating wastewater since the city’s largest industrial user – Sensient – signed a contract two decades ago. The most recent wastewater rate increase went into effect in 2017. Once a new contract is in place, Wegener says that could lead to a reduction in the costs for residential customers. In addition to the sewer increase, water and electric rates are expected to increase at some point this year. The Utility Commission recently funded a study that recommended an increase for all three of the city-owned utilities. The last water increase was in 2003 while the last electricity increase was a half dozen years ago, and that only targeted usage rates. The upcoming electricity increase would target the base rate, which is projected to increase from $6.50 per month for residential customers to around $10. The water and electric rates are subject to approval by the Public Service Commission, which is expected to take a couple more months. The sewer rate went into effect with last night’s approval by the city council.