SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Some utility rates could be increasing in Sioux Falls over the next four years. For the average homeowner in the city, the increases could start next year.
The utilities that could see rate increases are water purification, sewer, storm drainage and the sanitary landfill. However, it doesn’t mean you will be directly affected by every single increase. At this time, there is no price hike for city light and power.
The City of Sioux Falls Public Works Department routinely reviews utility rates to make sure revenues meet the expected expenses. The last time they set rates was in 2019. Now, they are looking to set new rates for 2024-2027.
Director of Public Works, Mark Cotter, presented the numbers to the city council Tuesday.
“These utilities have seen costs increase. And just water meters, for example, have gone up 19% in the last three years. Treatment chemicals have gone up more than that for both water and wastewater. And some of those high, sort of, consumption maintenance items have gone up almost 75%,” Cotter said.
For example, the annual percentage increase for water purification next year would be 6%.
“The average customer in Sioux Falls uses 5,200 gallons of water. That means, there are a lot of customers that use a lot less than that, and there’s customers that use more, but if you just look at if you’re going to use 5,200 gallons of water, your typical increase on that one for 2024, I believe, is $1.73 per month,” Cotter said.
Therefore, the “average customer” would see a water bill increase of almost $21 for the entire year. As for the years after that, the increases would go up by 4-6% annually for each utility — water, sewer and storm drainage — through 2027.
“The projects that we’re doing are larger and larger, and so if we’re planning a project in, say, 2027, we don’t need to start collecting that revenue today, and so that’s why we do multi-year rate increases, and we hope it also allows our customers to moderately adjust for those rate increases,” Cotter said.
From infrastructure upgrades and additions to maintenance and operation costs, Cotter says these are the minimum increases required to keep the reliable systems running.
“Our customers have a level of service that they expect and we want to maintain that going forward,” he said.
Now that the information is in the city councilor’s hands, they will get to decide if the rates are approved moving forward.
“We want to make sure that the rate increases are warranted, but we have to make sure that we have safe infrastructure and that we don’t fall behind,” Councilor Pat Starr said.
The discussions will continue at the next couple of city council meetings and it’ll be voted on June 20.
Water and sewer were the main focus of Tuesday’s presentation, but there are also increases in storm drainage and use of the sanitary landfill.
If you own property in town, there is a special assessment fee on your property taxes for storm drainage. Landfill increases could affect you in the long run through your garbage provider bill or if you bring a lot of waste to the landfill often.
If you’d like to read more into the numbers, you can visit a page on the city’s website with all the information.