UPDATE JUNE 5: Saying they had no choice but to meet their operations budget, Somerton city councilmembers voted Tuesday night to increase water and wastewater rates for residents.
The council voted 6-1 to follow the recommendation of Finance Director Czarina Gallegos to increase the rates starting in 30 days.
City Manager Ian McGaughey told KAWC the city had not increased rates since 2010. Gallegos said the fees currently collected do not cover the cost of operations at the current service level.
The additional cost to a resident using an average of 13,000 gallons of water a month will be $5.88 not including tax. The cost to a resident for wastewater will be $6.97.
Officials say this rate structure will potentially yield at least $595,000 each for water and wastewater.
The Somerton City Council will consider raising water and wastewater rates at a meeting tonight.
City leaders hired Willdan Financial Services to prepare a rate study. Currently, homeowners in Somerton pay about $60 for water and wastewater, which is less than homeowners in Yuma and San Luis.
City Manager Ian McGaughey told KAWC the current revenue is not enough to pay for operations. City councilmembers will consider a rate increase of about six percent in the first year or an increase of $2.88 with similar increases for each of the following four years. The earliest this change could go into effect is July 5, McGaughey said.
“The city has not increased its water or wastewater rates in 10 years and during that same period most of the utilities in Arizona have increased their rates by 50 to 60 percent,” he said.
The Somerton City Council meeting begins at 7 p.m. at Somerton City Hall on Main Street. A work session on other city matters begins at 6 p.m.