August 19, 2004
The Tempe City Council will consider raising rates for water, sewage and irrigation services to help offset millions of dollars in projected losses.
City officials say the rate increase is needed to pay for upgrading the city’s water treatment plants as well as sewer line construction and basic repairs.
"There are a lot of pipes and equipment that was built in the ’70s which are wearing out now," said Tom Gallier, water utilities manager.
City staff will offer their recommendations to the council at tonight’s Issue Review Session, which starts at 6 p.m. in council chambers, 31 E. Fifth St.
During its regular meeting, the council will decide whether to hold public hearings Sept. 30 to discuss the proposed changes.
Water, sewage and irrigation are separate funds that are supposed to be selfsufficient, Gallier said. But, in the coming years, the cost to provide services are expected to exceed the amount of money generated by monthly bills, he said.
By fiscal 2007-08, the city’s water and sewer utilities department is forecasting a nearly $10 million loss.
City staff is recommending that the council adopt a plan increasing fees to $35.53 per month from $33.74 per month.
Irrigation customers would see an increase of $23.12 per year, according to the recommended plan. The rates would still remain among the lowest in the East Valley.
However, annual increases will be required for the next several years, according to city documents. Staff decided to wait on recommending further hikes because of the uncertainty that the ongoing drought will have on budgets.