MARGATE – The Board of Commissioners Thursday, Nov. 7 introduced an ordinance increasing water and sewer rates, effective Jan. 1, 2020.
According to City Administrator Richard Deaney, the city created an asset management plan earlier this year and analyzed the utility’s rate structure, which indicated a rate increase was needed to maintain services.
The increase was recommended by the Public Works supervisor, chief financial officer and Deaney based on auditor Leon Costello’s five-year projection for the water and sewer budget.
Starting Jan. 1, 2020, rate payers can expect a $35 increase in the water rate and a $75 increase in the sewer rate for up to 120,000 gallons of usage “which is more than enough to accommodate families,” Deaney said.
Of the 5,500 users with individual connections, only 600 exceed the 120,000-gallon limit, Deaney said.
The new water rate for up to 120,000 gallons of usage is $230 annually, up from $195, and sewer service will increase to $450 annually, up from $375.
Despite the increase, the city offers the lowest water and sewer rates in the area, Deaney said.
“There is nothing more important to me and to local government, police and fire than to provide clean water every day,” Deaney said. “The city has done an excellent job taking care of a system that dates back to the 1920s.”
The last time rates were raised was in 2016, he said.
Over the next several years, the city will be switching to electronic water meters, which will allow quarterly billing instead of annual billing. The cast iron distribution system will also be replaced over the coming years, he said.
The board will appropriate up to $1 million a year for system upgrades, such as for painting the water towers which can cost as much as $600,000, he said.
According to the rate schedule outlined in the ordinance, minimum charges for water service are based on the size of the service.
The minimum charge for a 1-inch main is $230 for 120,000 gallons, up from $195; a 1.5-inch main is $345 for 180,000 gallons, up from $215; a 2-inch main is $460 for 240,000 gallons, up from $301; 3- to 4-inch mains are $690 for 360,000 gallons, down from $850; and for a 6-inch main, it’s $1,380 for 720,000 gallons, up from $1,095. Additional usage above the minimum allowance will be charged at $2.50 per 1,000 gallons, up from $1.20.
Water and sewer connection fees, which have not been raised for about 25 years, were also adjusted, he said. There are no changes for some water connection fees, but others have been reduced or increased.
Water connections for a 1-inch main will remain at $4,000 plus the cost of the meter, and a 1.5-inch main will remain at $4,800. A 2-inch main will be $5,500, down from $7,000; a 4-inch main will be $7,000, up from $4,100, and a 6-inch main will be $9,000, up from $4,300.
The sewer connection fee for a 6-inch connection is $4,000, up from $3,000.
The cost of meters will be $800 for a 1-inch main, up from $300; $1,400 for a 1.5-inch main, up from $440; and $1,700 for a 2-inch main, up from $680. Larger sized meters will be ordered at current prices, the ordinance states.
Special meter readings for property transfers will be $25.
A public hearing on the ordinance will be held 4 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 21.