The Sioux Center City Council is a step closer to approving increased wastewater rates for all users to build and operate a new treatment plant.
The new wastewater treatment facility will be constructed to meet new, more stringent DNR standards and to replace the community’s 40-year-old plant.
“We live in a time with increasing awareness of our environmental impact, and building this plant to meet the new standards passed down from the federal government is one step toward improving our impact now and for years to come,” said Sioux Center Utility Manager Murray Hulstein. “Our existing plant is showing its age. Building new is more cost effective than updating it and redesigning it to meet the new standards.”
The council held its first reading of an ordinance to increase wastewater rates in two steps, starting this July. The second increase is planned for July 2018.
“We recognize these are large increases, and we want to buffer the impact to users by spreading them out over two years,” Hulstein said. “It makes good business sense to begin those increases now as we prepare for construction costs.”
For residential and commercial customers, the proposed increases this July would bring the monthly service charge from $12.90 to $18 per month. Usage rates per 1,000 gallons for these customers would increase from $2.90 to $4.25 per 1,000 gallons. The second increase, proposed for July 2018, would bring the monthly service charge to $22. The usage fee would increase $1.15 per 1,000 gallons to be $5.40.
Industrial users are paying a portion of the construction costs based on their usage. They will also see 20-40 percent increases in their monthly rates.
The proposed rates must have two more public readings before they are approved and go into effect. These increases were recommended after an extensive cost-of-service study. Construction of the new plant is slated to begin in 2018 and be complete in 2020.
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.