Officials say increase needed to cover utility expenses

By Dave Fidlin

Correspondent

The average Village of Waterford residential property owner could pay $36.57 more per quarter for sanitary sewer service, based on a proposed rate increase.

The Village Board on Aug. 9 discussed a financial analysis report from Johnson Block, a firm specializing in accounting-related services.

After placing a range of data under the microscope — including past debt obligations and forthcoming expenses — Johnson Block representatives recommended increasing the sewer utility’s rates 18.7%.

Based on the analysis, average residences connected to sewer service in the village could face a quarterly sewer utility bill of $229.36, up from the current rate of $192.79. The figure is based on the use of 20,000 gallons per quarter.

As a result of the recent discussion, village officials anticipate implementing the rate increase Jan. 1.

“We don’t have a choice here,” Village President Don Houston said, pointing to the financial pressures in play for the utility.

Village Administrator Zeke Jackson said the infusion of additional dollars would help the utility fund upcoming infrastructure projects.

“Ultimately, we’ve got some lines that we need to replace, and (the rate increase) is a function of that,” he said.

Jackson also said the village’s sewer rates are lower than the state average.

Expenses currently in the mix for the utility include a 2021 revenue bond of $2.83 million and obligations stretching back to 2010 from a loan via the Clean Water Fund.

Other assumptions incorporated into Johnson Block’s analysis include the addition of 30 new residential and multifamily customers to the utility in 2021.

The utility’s anticipated revenues next year, with the rate increase in the mix, total $1.7 million in the analysis.

If a status quo approach was adopted, and no rate increase occurred, the $1.4 million in revenue would result in a $225,300 deficit, Johnson Block analysts projected.