Wednesday, February 10, 2016

2016 Sewer Rate Increase Behind the Scenes

In December the Village published an article that notified the community that the sanitary sewer volume rates for customers were increasing to $5.65/1000 (11 cent increase).  This article explains the why behind the increase and what Bellevue has done to slow the increases over the past eight years.

The 2016 annual expense budget for the sanitary sewer utility is made up of three major components; Village Admin and Maintenance ($469,913), NEW Water Treatment ($1,701,300), and Depreciation and Debt ($373,795).  Since 2008, the cost for NEW Water treatment has increased at twice the rate as Bellevue's Maintenance or Depreciation.  Bellevue does not have its own treatment plant for sanitary sewer.  All waste is conveyed through pipes and pumps to the NEW Water treatment plant located near Bay Beach in Green Bay.  NEW Water charges each community on a monthly basis for the volume and how polluted the waste is.

The NEW Water budget experienced a significant increase over the past eight years mainly due to increasing debt associated with required plant upgrades.  The last major upgrade was performed in the 1980's, which kept the rates relatively lower throughout the 1990's and early 2000's.  For the 2016 budget, the Village portion of the Operations and Maintenance decreased slightly, while the NEW Water treatment costs increased over 11%.  The result is the 11 cent increase in volume rates.

The Village of Bellevue uses a portion of your utility bills each year  to make an investment in staff and contracted services to clean, inspect and repair the sewer mains within our community.  Each year Bellevue addresses about 15-20 miles of mains and manholes.  Surface and ground water leaking into the system that attributes to hundreds of thousands of dollars each year in unnecessary treatment costs.  Over the past 8 years, Bellevue has increased the number of customers by 130, but in that same time has decreased the volume of treatment by 70 million gallons per year.  Had the Village not reduced the treated volume by that much, the residential customer volume rate could have been over $5.90/1000.

In 2016, the Village will continue to aggressively address leaks into the sanitary system.  An added focus to the program will begin to address leaks from surface penetrations from private property.  Areas in the community will be notified of the investigation and the findings.  Repairs on private property will be required if found.