Scottsdale ponders utility rate increase

A proposed increase in Scottsdale’s water and sewer rates would increase the average residential bill by $2.26. 

Like just about everything else in these inflationary times, Scottsdale’s water, sewer and garbage-recycling rates may be on the rise.

The good news: Water rate increases, if approved by City Council, would not go into effect until Nov. 1, though sewer increases would take effect July 1.

In her presentation at the March 7 council meeting, Judy Doyle, the city’s budget director, stressed no action was needed and the proposed fees will be posted on the city’s website for at least 60 days.

Brian Biesemeyer, executive director of Scottsdale Water, said the city's water suppliers are raising prices, with CAP water rising 27% and SRP water costs going up 10%.

Costs are also going up due to “increasing actions required for drought preparedness,” along with increased staffing and increased operating costs at treatment plants and “increased groundwater treatment costs.”

Biesemeyer’s proposed increase water service rates by 4.2% and sewer by 5.8% – which he called “well below the consumer price index for overall commodities.”

The combined 4.7% increase continues a trend in which water and sewer rates have increased in four of the last five years (including this year).

Even so, the city’s projected average residential water-sewer bill of $59.12 for those who use 9,000 gallons or less – with a proposed $2.26 increase – would remain lower than Peoria, Glendale and Mesa, though it would climb over Gilbert’s $58.93 average.

Scottsdale water rates are currently higher on average than Chandler, Phoenix and Tempe.

Base fees and usage fees will both increase.

“The good news is they’ve reduced their water consumption,” Biesemeyer said of Scottsdale residents. “Kudos to our customers. We’re really trying to encourage customers to use 10,000 gallons a month or less."

A proposed 8% increase in garbage collection would raise monthly rates for one can from $25.96 to $28.03.

Even with the increase, Scottsdale’s garbage collection rates would be lower than Phoenix, Mesa and Tempe. Scottsdale’s garbage rates are currently higher than Gilbert, Chandler and Peoria.

Stormwater fees would also increase by $1 per month, from $4.95 to $5.95.

As previously reported by the Progress, the Parks and Recreation Department is proposing a $1 increase for lap swim, fitness center and public swim “due to exponential increases in operational costs.”

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