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Posted on: April 12, 2017

Rates Will Increase to Build New Wastewater Plant

The Sioux Center City Council discussed potential increases in wastewater rates to pay for the community’s planned new wastewater treatment plant.


All residential, commercial and industrial users will share the cost of the new $25.2 million plant. It is being built to meet new, more stringent DNR standards and replace the 40-year-old wastewater facility.


“This will be a multi-generational plant,” Utilities Manager Murray Hulstein said. “It will be a cost-effective and stewardly way in the long run to meet those new standards and update our community’s aging system.”


He and Sioux Center Utilities Engineer Matt Van Schouwen shared with the council a first look at potential increases after an extensive rate study, noting that numbers are not final yet.


“We really worked to make the rate increases justifiable and fair to all users,” Van Schouwen said.


According to current estimates, industrial users will contribute about 28 percent of construction costs. In addition, these industrial users may also see wastewater rate increases of 20-40 percent to help cover operational costs.


Residential and commercial users will contribute to the new plant’s construction and operation costs through their monthly user fee and rates, the two parts of their wastewater treatment bill.


These estimates show these users’ increases may be in the 75 percent range.


Initially, it was looking like those increases would be significantly higher but the council is considering using $9.5 million of tax increment financing to help pay for the plant and alleviate some of the impact on users.


“If we wouldn’t have that tool, the increases would almost double,” said Councilman Randy Vreugdenhil.


All the discussed increases are subject to whether bids for the new plant come in close to estimates.


The City of Sioux Center’s sanitary sewer system collects and treats wastewater produced by more than 2,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers, paid for by user fees.


Sioux Center's 40-year-old wastewater plant

(Photo) Sioux Center's 40-year-old wastewater treatment plant will be replaced to meet new DNR standards.


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