Citing inflation and a need for capital funding, the Soldotna City Council voted Wednesday to increase water and sewer rates by 5% and 6%, respectively, each year for the next five years.
The rate changes are effective July 1, 2023, and will cost single family residences an extra $5.45 per month. That additional cost includes a $1.53 increase for water and a $3.92 increase for sewer.
“It is in the best interest of the City to adopt water and sewer rate schedules for the upcoming five fiscal years, to provide rate certainty to account holders and to ensure the operating and capital needs of the Utility system are met,” the ordinance says.
The legislation comes about a month after HDR Associate Vice President Shawn Koorn presented the results of a water and sewer rate study commissioned by the city last year.
Per a Dec. 29 memo from Soldotna Finance Director Melanie Imholte to council members, the study found that revenue from the city’s user fees is “not sufficient” to support the city’s utility fund and upcoming capital improvements.
“The recommendation over the next five years is to increase water rates by 5% and sewer rates by 6% each year to prudently fund the operating and capital needs of the Utility Fund,” Imholte wrote in a Dec. 29 memo to council members. “Inflationary increases in operations and maintenance and the need for adequate capital funding are the key drivers of these results.”
Rate tables included in the council’s Wednesday meeting packet show that, for an unmetered single family residence, the water charge per month will increase from $30.64 to $32.17 on July 1. The sewer charge for the same entity will increase from $65.30 to $69.22 on July 1. By fiscal year 2028, the monthly water rate for an unmetered single family residence will have increased to $39.11 and the monthly sewer rate will have increased to $87.39.
A full schedule of rates for the upcoming fiscal year can be found in Wednesday’s city council materials at soldotna.org.
Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at firstname.lastname@example.org.