City sewage rates may see an increase in the next few months to cover the costs of the system.
Havre City Council’s Water and Sewage Committee met Wednesday night to discuss a 4.7 percent increase in the the city’s sewage rates. The committee decided to pass the recommendation on to City Council at its next meeting on Feb. 7.
This increase would amount to an additional $1.11 per month on an average sewage bill, according to City Clerk Lowell Swenson, raising an average monthly bill from around $23 to just more than $24.
Swenson said the change is being recommended so that the city will be able to meet the demands of the bond used to pay for the water system.
One stipulation of the bond is that the city must make 25 percent more than the bond principle per year in order to make the payment and put money aside for expenses like upkeep and repairs. According to Swenson, the city fell short of this requirement by about $55,000.
Councilwoman and committee member Janet Trethewey said that this increase is necessary for the city to cover its costs.
“We’re not making any more money,” Trethewey said. “The sewer income has been pretty stable. But the cost of the system keeps going up.”
There are still quite a few steps needed before the change can take effect.
First, the city would have to approve the resolution put forward by the committee at their first February meeting.
Then a letter would be sent out all of the people who would be affected by the change. The letter would explain the change and inform customers that a public hearing on the change will be held.
A public hearing will be held, so that the council can get an idea of the public’s opinion on the change.
Then the council will decide what to do.
Trethewey said that it would probably take two months before any change would happen.