Archive for Monday, July 10, 2017

Lawrence City Commission to consider water and utility rate increases

July 10, 2017

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At their meeting Tuesday, Lawrence city commissioners will consider water and other utility rate increases that will add about $65 annually to residents’ bills.

The rate increases are part of the city manager’s recommended budget, and utilities staff says the additional revenue is needed for the department to keep pace with costs.

“The utilities department is committed to providing high quality and responsive water and sewer services to the community and the proposed rates reflect the cost of providing and maintaining those services and the essential infrastructure,” said Beth Krishtalka, utilities director assistant.

Under the proposed rate increases, fees for solid waste, water, stormwater and sewer will increase, as well as service charges and surcharges. Combined, the increases amount to about a 6 percent increase over this year’s rates. Changes to customer charges are expected to bring in an additional $3 million for water and wastewater next year, according to the recommended budget.

Overall, the average customer’s utility bill will increase by $65 annually, according to the recommended budget. The city calculates average customer impact based on the use of 4,000 gallons of water per month.

Under the proposal, water rates for single-family residential customers will increase from $5.70 per 1,000 gallons to $6.10. For multifamily customers, the rate will increase from $3.72 to $4.17. Rates for commercial, industrial and irrigation are also proposed to increase.

Currently, multifamily, commercial and industrial customers pay lower irrigation rates than residential customers. Under the proposed changes, all customers would pay $6.10 per 1,000 gallons for irrigation.

Krishtalka said rate increases are based on factors such as capital needs, operations and maintenance costs, regulatory requirements, and infrastructure replacements and extensions.

“There’s a number of factors that go into that, both looking at costs now, costs in the future and looking at where we need to be to have sufficient revenues to provide and sustain the water and sewer services,” Krishtalka said.

In coming years, the city projects expenses in its water and wastewater fund will increase due to the upcoming startup and operation of the new Wakarusa River Wastewater Treatment Plant and required changes to the water treatment process. The $74 million sewer plant is scheduled to open next year. Overall, expenditures are projected to increase by $1.7 million next year, according to the 2017-2022 forecast in the recommended budget.

In November of 2016, the City Commission indicated it was supportive of rate increases that would penalize high water consumption. Krishtalka said it isn't possible to put that type of rate structure in place using the city’s current customer billing software, but that plan will likely come before the commission again in 2018.

The rate increases are tied to the utility department’s five-year capital improvement plan. If adopted, the rate changes will go into effect in November.

The City Commission will convene at 5:45 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 6 E. Sixth St.

Comments

David Holroyd 4 months, 2 weeks ago

They have to make up for the tens of thousand of gallons running down 12th street for the past 4 days. Hurry fast and take in the show! Herbert has not, Soden has not, Amyx has not, Boley has not and Lisa Larsen neither and certainly not Mr Markus, he is too busy giving away free land to the VanVan Trust which warren buffet made rich with 4.1 billion dollarsdollars

Your increase in water rates at work, going down the drain!

Bob Smith 4 months, 2 weeks ago

Libby is another lousy, rotten spammer.

RJ Johnson 4 months, 2 weeks ago

Wow, the City of Lawrence just doesn't know when to quit. Enough already!!

Bob Summers 4 months, 2 weeks ago

Parasites do what parasites were born to do.

Pay up. The Liberals knows what is best for you with your money.

They will say anything, create any fantasy, to take it.

Jim Schilling 4 months, 2 weeks ago

There is no "considering", they are going to do it. This is part of the plan that they started in 2013 to raise rates 6% every year through 2017 so that we could pay for all of the construction.

The aggravating thing is that they will keep on increasing in all the years that follow as well because now we will have to pay operating costs. Now we need the city to grow to spread the new costs out among a larger population like the new treatment plant is meant to handle. I assume that the city is working equally hard on making it easier for job providers to come to Lawrence and start doing business right? Any day now I expect that Lawrence VenturePark to announce some big employers coming in to set up shop and offer good paying jobs that can help build the community up.

Carol Bowen 4 months, 2 weeks ago

Glad you brought this up. The growth we need is not residential or retail. Those two uses do mot stimulate the local economy as much as a new business or industry would. And, we still have to provide utilities, infrastructure like streets and sidewalks, schools, recreation, ....Right now, we are building for commuters instead of creating jobs for local people who could then invest in housing.

Richard Quinlan 4 months, 2 weeks ago

Been in Lawrence 35 years. The city has raised those rates every year. They will always come up with a reason never to achieve any efficiency in operations and tell you how these rates are like everyone elses nearby. Occasionally the will blab about how much money it generates in surplus or how much money they transfer out of the fund to pay for admin costs in other areas. The percentages are getting much higher as of late.

Rick Aldrich 4 months, 2 weeks ago

The so called " Middle Class" spends an average 25% plus of their take home income on just the 3 major utility's. And rates increase every year from all 3 while the customer gets a pay raise if lucky every 2 or 3 years.

Bob Smith 4 months, 2 weeks ago

Of course they want a rate increase, we're in a year that ends in a number.

Clara Westphal 4 months, 2 weeks ago

Did the city ever collect money from Mr. Fritzel for the city water he used to fill his pond?

Chris Johnson 4 months, 2 weeks ago

If software will be available in another year to help determine a fair-share rate based on usage, then I would suggest that this current rate increase proposal be put on hold until fair-share charges can be implemented.

Kevin Kelly 4 months, 2 weeks ago

My affordable home may not be affordable much longer.

Richard Heckler 4 months, 2 weeks ago

"Parasites do what parasites were born to do."

Are there any builders,developers,property mangers etc etc etc delinquent on taxes?

Is the governing body doing anything to collect back taxes?

In reality these suggested increases are simply another means for increasing taxes.

Most people call these rate increases NOT tax increases. Let's not kid ourselves
when people scream and holler about tax increases there is always another avenue. Yes increase utility rates ...... which are tax increases which is a way to raise revenue.

Deborah Snyder 4 months, 2 weeks ago

We want to offer KUDOS to the Lawrence Watee Resources Dept. for their excellent work in retro-fitting and upgrading water lines throughout Lawrence.

They have worked hard, in dangerous conditions, to install these lines and deserve credit for meeting the goals set in each stage of this massive renovation project.

We are so lucky to be able to drink clean water out of our taps, and to rely on a constant water supply year-round.

City water departments come from as close by as KCK and KCMO, and as far away as Iowa and Illinois to look at the methods used in Lawrence water treatment and supply (FACT).

Keep up the good work, for nothing is going to prove more important than water supply in this century.

Paul Jones 4 months, 2 weeks ago

Meanwhile HERE continues to water the sidewalk and street at their lovely new parking lot complete with a Fritzel faux limestone walls, blocking the use of the sidewalk but with their tax breaks money is no object and I'm sure the city won't hit people with deep pockets who don't care about conservation any harder than those who struggle to pay their bills. It's wonderful watching the water run down the street from these idiotic landscaping projects.

David Holroyd 4 months, 2 weeks ago

FREE water on 12th street. Bring buckets now!

Deborah Snyder, check out the water draining from the green tanks located on Oread Avenue. Then brag about Lawrence water resources dept.

Carol Bown, there are not any jobs coming , just some more piddly jobs like in the Van Trust bldg that the city commissioners are oohing and ahhing about. You know the Van Tuyl family sold the dealership to Mr. Buffet for 4.1 billion dollars...and some of that is coming to Lawrence where your city commission is giving away free land..whatcha think about that freebie..

And where is Melinda, Boog, Rundle who all wanted a living wage job especially when an incentive is given...Why are they not questioning Markus, Amyx, Soden, Herbert, Larsen and Boley now that they are giving away land for free...FREE is a pretty good incentive, but it wasn't good enough for anyone local...

Mr. Kelly, your home will be affordable. Your commissioner Boley is working on affordable housing, maybe yours if lucky...but do not count on it.

Deborah Snyder 4 months, 2 weeks ago

Mr. Holroyd, do you not know how old those water tanks are? And, I'm pretty sure KU Endowment or the Alumni Association own the land those tanks sit on. If true, why are you complaining about what KU Facilities Mgt. is doing w/those tanks.

Michael Kort 4 months, 2 weeks ago

David, read and be amused for here are your favorite two water tanks that are up for replacement late in 2018 ? Including a peak inside for your pleasure !

The insides are in really bad shape but shutting them down might not be a summer time ( or anytime ) option due to the summer being peak demand time for water .

Are these things even structurally sound ?........wrong place for a total blow out of a tank wall bottom !

Rebuilding new ones across the street before these are dismantled makes sense !......but these things look scary inside to me ! Click the link below

https://assets.lawrenceks.org/assets/agendas/cc/2015/10-27-15/UT1307_oread_tank_replacement_10_27_15.pdf

Like all older cities, Lawrence could be and should be dealing with system wide replacements of water infrastructure faster than it is and they are straining at the costs which are monumental .

KC is doing 28 miles per year of pipe replacement with 2,800 miles of pipe and seem to be gaining ground ( right now ) with a 100 year plan but large parts of their system is going to hit failure mode in mass in the next 30 years or less all at once and they are 45 years or so late to the game of replacing pipe wholesale so the cost are 45 years of inflation greater .

It pays not to put this off because inflation really sucks !

A $3,000 Ford 2 seat T-bird car in the mid 50s, cost $39,000 to $42,000 when the stopped production 50 yrs later .= 13 or 14 times more dollars .

Actually, 50 yr old pipe can be in worse shape than 100 year old pipe because the engineering cycle was to build it faster, cheaper, lighter, easier to install as the engineering and manufacturing processes came foreword, so there is less to rust out and it just wears out from rust sooner than the pre 1920 stuff,.....so the old gets older and the newer dies sooner.......a perfect storm nation wide as Lawrence isn't the only town with water mains .

Deborah Snyder 4 months, 2 weeks ago

And the fact that our water dept. is being pilloried for long-term cost savings and water loss in maintenance is ironic, folks, since Kansas in most (if not all) of its western counties has depleted the Ogalalla (sic) in unsustainable agriculture.

I wonder, Mr. Kort, if the newer network upgrade will incorporate anti-hacking monitors on its equipment (like stuxnet or the recent nuclear power plant hack at Wolf Creek)?

David Holroyd 4 months, 2 weeks ago

Deborah, you are truly clueless. The tanks are owned by you, a taxpayer and the water draining form them has been treated and paid for by you. Now, look, my dear I live right across the street and have much knowledge for the past 45 years about those tanks.

And Mr. Kort, you raised a very good question. Why drain the big one, when the water could have been supplied to users until the tank was closer to empty. Mr. Kort,,,the water has run for over 5 days....it's gone bye bye, right down the storm sewer. I know full well about the tanks, they have been my closest quiet neighbors for 45 years... And they are going to be taken down. Yes, the plan was to put them across the street and then the Alumni center was going to expand to the north, now I here at the swap meet, that the Alumni Center will expand north on their parking lot and users of the center will park across the street in the paid garage...It's a $$$ money maker, you know.

Deborah,,,it's okay..you need to understand that your water bill is paying for the draining of how many thousands of gallons of water going to the river..treated water no less.

And you do not know Deborah whether Endowment or Alumni Association owns the tanks..Deborah, as a researcher you should pretty well know by now that the City of Lawrence owns the tanks..and you used to own the water drained from the big one..which went bye bye to the river, treated and was ready to drink.

It is coming down, and the electric company is rerouting power lines...with cranes no less, not like the Cranes at the Korean memorial on Memorial Drive.

Across the street Mr. Kort, that land which has the old Sandelius house sitting empty, well that land as I understand has several owners involved and not all are Endowment...maybe Deborah could research the ownership...just like she did not research who owns the green tanks..

Deborah, please do some homework... and you missed all that nice clean drinking water...it was really nice and such a waste flowing downhill for more days...and to think folks in the Sudan are dying for a drink.

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