Corbin H. Crable
[email protected]
Gardner City Council members got a glimpse this week of how potential water and sewer rate increases would affect local residents.
Up for discussion is the possibility of Gardner residents seeing a 5-percent rate increase for water and an 8-percent increase for sewer on their utility bills next year. According to a handout distributed by City Administrator Stewart Fairburn, there is no anticipated electric rate hike for 2011.
According to the document, the city’s monthly service fee for water inside city limits for next year is expected to be $10.40, a 50-cent increase from this year. When added to the charge of $37.38 for an average monthly use of 8,000 gallons of water for a Gardner home, the total bill would come to $47.78. This figure is an increase from this year’s average of $45.50, or an increase of $2.28 per month or $27.30 per year for 2011.
Numbers from the past decade show in 2001, a household with an average use of 8,000 gallons of water per month saw a total monthly water bill of $40.22; thus, monthly fees have increased by $7.56 per month, or $90.66 per year.
The city has figured the 8-percent rate increase for sewer services, meanwhile, based on that same average household monthly use of 8,000 gallons of water. Monthly service fees could rise from $9.45 this year to $10.21 in 2011; combined with the cost of $51.84 for use of 8,000 gallons, that household’s monthly water bill would total $62.05, up from $57.45 this year. That’s a difference of $4.60 per month or $55.15 per year.
In 2001, the monthly sewer bill for a household that used 8,000 gallons of water stood at $42.60. Between 2001 and 2011, then, sewer rates will have risen by $19.45 per month or $233.35 per year.
Electric rates for a household using an average of 850 kilowatts per month, meanwhile, are expected to remain constant in 2011, with that total bill staying steady at $92.43 per month.
Fairburn supplied the specific information on utility rate increases at the request of council member Kristy Harrison, who had asked for specific figures on how utility rate increases would affect Gardner residents.
Fairburn also distributed information on the city’s anticipated expenses for mailings in 2011. Gardner residents likely will be most familiar with the city’s bimonthly “Inside Gardner” newsletter, a full-color publication that is estimated to cost $14,900 for printing ($7,700) and postage ($7,200) next year. Assistant City Administrator and Community Development Director Melissa Mundt, who also acts as the city’s public information officer, is in charge of the organization and design of the newsletter.
Also included in the city’s mailing expenses are the activity guides printed by the Department of Parks and Recreation. Those guides, which come out four times per year, cost $5,800 to print and $4,600 to mail, for a total of $10,400 per year. In addition, the department also sends out an annual brochure for the Gardner Aquatic Center. At $1,500 for printing and $1,200 for postage, the total cost of producing and mailing that brochure comes to $2,700.
The governing body must have the city’s 2011 budget approved and submitted to the state next month.
The council will continue budget talks during a special work session at 6 p.m. Monday, July 26 at City Hall, 120 E. Main St.
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