Utility Rate Increases Get Initial OK

At its June 6, 2011 meeting, the Ann Arbor city council gave initial approval to changes in rates for drinking water, sanitary sewer and storm water. In terms of revenue generated to the city, the rate increases are expected to generate 3.36% more for drinking water ($664,993), 4% more for the sanitary sewer ($829,481), and 3.35% more for stormwater ($176,915).

Because the rates are part of a city ordinance, the changes must receive a second approval from the city council, after a public hearing.

According to the city, the rate increases are needed to maintain debt service coverage and to maintain funding for required capital improvements.

The city’s drinking water charges are based on a “unit” of 100 cubic feet – 748 gallons. Charges for residential customers are divided into tiers, based on usage. For example, the first seven units of water for residential customers are charged $1.23 per unit. The new residential rate for the first seven units would be $1.27.

The city’s stormwater rates are based on the amount of impervious area on a parcel and are billed quarterly. For example, the lowest tier – for impervious area less than 2,187 square feet – is currently charged $12.84 per quarter. Under the new rate structure, that would increase to $13.24. [.pdf of complete utility rate changes as proposed]

This brief was filed from the city council’s chambers on the second floor of city hall, located at 301 E. Huron. A more detailed report will follow: [link]