By Tim Leeds
Havre water and sewer users might see their rates go up Dec. 1.
The Havre City Council water and sewer committee voted to recommend a 6 percent increase in sewer rates and a 4 percent increase on water rates to the full council.
City Clerk Lowell Swenson said today that if the council approves the recommendations, a hearing will be scheduled to hear public comment on the proposed increases.
The increases would amount to $1.13 added to the average monthly water bill and $1.02 more on an average monthly sewer bill, he said.
The committee earmarked the increases for future water and sewer projects. The sewer increase will go to work on the wastewater treatment plant necessary to meet new regulations, effective in 2004, governing the release of ammonia from the plant. The water increase is earmarked for work on the water main under First Street, which will be done in conjunction with the Montana Department of Transportation's project to reconfigure and rebuild First Street starting in 2006.
Kristi Kline, superintendent of the wastewater treatment plant, submitted a budget request for an engineering study to plan for the improvements on the water plant to meet the ammonia requirements.
Other work will be needed at the plant in the near future, Kline said. The plant was designed with a 20-year life, as most sewer plants are, she said.
Some of the equipment in the plant is more than 30 years old and will need to be replaced soon, Kline said. The plant will need to be upgraded for another 20 year stretch, she said.
The estimated annual revenue generated by the increases would be about $50,000 for sewer and about $60,000 for water, Swenson said. The increases would accumulate in the city water and sewer reserves until the money is applied to projects, he said.
The committee recommendation will be presented to the full council Monday.