Some of you may have noticed that there has been changes to our water rates over the recent years. Although this was communicated out and there was an open house, we wanted to make sure those of you who may have missed it have all the information.
- Moved from quarterly to monthly. One benefit of this change is early leak detection. Leaks are now caught faster and prevent residents from having even larger water bills.
- Increases in rates in the years 2020 & 2021. We all agree an increase in rates is not ideal, but staff identified that the city wasn’t properly funding the infrastructure replacement. (Much of the current utility infrastructure is from the 1960’s & 1970’s.) Historically it was funded through special assessments and bond sales and in at least one case, the General Fund. Why is that bad? Special Assessments are unpopular and are often $25,000 or more. Bond sales are repaid through water rates and include additional interest. The general fund comes from all residents regardless of their connection to the utility system. It is unfair to expect properties not connected to the system to subsidize the water utility.
This past summer we had a few residents call in because their water bills were higher than normal. The city did not have an increase in 2022, and these larger bills were due to larger volumes of water being used during the drought we are experiencing.
In 2020 the city had an open house on utility rates, the city has also included a rate update in the newsletter, and sent out direct communications on the topic. Below is the latest update:
To see the latest update visit this link: https://www.ci.orono.mn.us/606/2022-Water-Bill-Update