St. Clair residents will see another raise in water and sewer fee rates starting in January 2018.
The St. Clair Board of Aldermen approved a 5 percent water rate increase and a 15 percent sewage rate increase at its meeting Monday night.
The increased rates come as a result of a new disinfection process for the wastewater treatment plant required by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Environment Protection Agency (EPA).
City Administrator Travis Dierker said the raise in fees are a pre-emptive way to pay for the new process, and a good alternative to presenting St. Clair residents with a large tax increase in the future.
“Rather than ask everyone for a tax increase we’re going to ask for fees,” Dierker said. “In the past it’s just been that 5 percent tick for maintenance and maintaining the lines — the cost of doing business — but we need to prepare for this.”
He said the rate hike is a good long-term solution to collecting the revenue needed to pay for the disinfection process.
This will be the third consecutive year the board has voted to raise water and sewage fees.
“Every year it costs to keep the system up to date and keep it running,” Dierker said. “It always costs a little more to keep it maintained, that’s part of it.”
In past years, the rate increases were deemed necessary to maintain and improve the wastewater treatment system and other infrastructure that were in dire need of repairs and upgrades, inspect the city’s water towers and make improvements on other water and sewage items throughout the city.
The disinfection process involves adding ultraviolet rays into the wastewater treatment system, with engineering and other upgrades needed to do the disinfection. Dierker said the project could cost $4 to $5 million.
In the water and sewer fund, $100,000 is budgeted for the disinfection process, according to Dierker.
The city is required every four to five years to renew a wastewater treatment permit. During the last permit process, it was noted that by the next permit renewal, the city has to have a disinfection process in place, Dierker said.
The city will apply for a certificate of participation that will pay for some of the project. Dierker added that the city will use the money from the increased rates to pay back the certificate.
The monthly water rates for residential, commercial and industrial are as follows:
• 0 to 99 gallons — $9.50;
• 100 to 5,000 gallons — $9.50 plus $3.61 per 1,000 gallons used;
• 5,001 to 20,000 gallons — $9.50 plus $5.50 per 1,000 gallons used;
• 20,001 to 100,000 gallons — $9.50 plus $5 per 1,000 gallons used; and
• 100,0001 gallons and over — $9.50 plus $3.50 per 1,000 gallons used.
The monthly sewage rates for residential, commercial and industrial are as follows:
• 0 to 99 gallons — $10; and
• 100 gallons and over — $10 plus $4.50 per 1,000 gallons used.
The new fees will take effect Jan. 1, 2018.