The Morgan City Council voted to raise sewer, garbage and water rates for city residents. The total increase will equal $2.20 more each month.
Depreciation is driving the 5 percent increase in sewer rates, Councilman Ray Little said. This will mean an increase of $1.20 per residence each month. The increased sewer rate will give the city $19,000 more in revenues.
Councilwoman Shelly Betz was concerned that the sewer rate increase was not quite enough to handle upcoming challenges.
Garbage fees have been on a roller coaster ride in the last few years. Garbage rates were at $19 per 90 gallon can monthly before Wasatch Integrated Waste Management paid off a bond. At that point, rates dropped to $14 per can monthly. Now, garbage rates for residential cans will climb $1 to $15 each month.
Commercial garbage customers will see a bit of a break, as they were used to paying more than residential customers for the same 90-gallon can. Now, both residential and business customers will pay the same $15 monthly rate.
Councilman Tony London said Wasatch Integrated Waste is worried about losing “flow control” on Jan. 31, when commercial customers can chose any garbage service provider they wish. However, all garbage collected from residential customers must be taken to Wasatch Integrated Waste in Layton.
The increased water rates will give the city $10,000 more in revenues. London said the revenue will go to about $7,500 in increased costs associated with transferring yard wastes to Layton in the next year rather than burning it as in the past. It will also help with a $20,000 price tag on a 30 by 50 foot concrete pad and walls for a grass and yard waste containment area.
London said there is a possibility rates could go down next year after the city establishes exact costs for hauling away grass and yard waste.
“It is a wait and see year,” he said.
London said nothing has changed at the tree dump, as it is still free to dump grass and yard waste there. However, the air in Morgan City will now be cleaner since yard waste will no longer be burned on site. Instead, Wasatch Integrated Waste Management will turn Morgan’s green waste into mulch and wood chips.
The monthly base water rate of $27 will not increase, but how many gallons considered the base package will. Before the increase, residents paid $27 for up to 12,000 gallons each month. Now, they will pay the same for 8,000 gallons monthly. The $3.25 for each 1,000 gallons over the base will now rise to $3.45 for each 1,000 gallons over the base.
The rate change is meant to encourage conservation and make charges more equitable, ensuring those that use more water pay more, Mayor Jim Egbert said. He said the rate change may help the city in qualifying for future grants.
“It will hit a couple of businesses pretty hard,” Councilman Ray Little said. “it is going to hit some of the homeowners who us 60,000 to 80,000 gallons a month. The question is: can some of these folks conserve?”
The extra 20 cents for overage charges will likely catch the attention of some homeowners using large amounts of water.
“Potentially people are going to get nailed, no doubt about it,” London said. “They are going to get the water bill and say, ‘What the heck?’”
Others say the change is necessary.
“It is more equitable,” Betz said. “This was a good compromise for the fairness issue.”
Egbert said he doesn’t expect an increase on city power rates.