In a specially called meeting of the Plymouth City Council, financial consultant Eric Walsh from Umbaugh told members he recommends a major rate increase for the wastewater rates along with an increase with the water rates.
After learning that both Del Monte and Bay Valley will be closing their doors in the next couple of months, the city decided to be proactive knowing that there would be a significant revenue impact to the city and other customers.
Projected lost revenue in waste water for 2018 will be just under $200,000 for Bay Valley and $60,000 for Del Monte. An additional $430,000 in surcharges for both Bay Valley and Del Monte will also be gone along with a minimal amount of storm water revenue. Walsh estimated a total loss of over three-quarters of a million dollars between these two customers on waste water side.
The recommendation from Umbaugh is to increase the city’s waste water rates across the board, both residential and industrial by 30% over a 15 month period. The proposal is to phase in the crease with a 10% rate hike in January 2018 and again in September. The third 10% increase would be in March of 2019. It was noted that if a business with similar type water and waste water needs occupied one or both of the plants, the third phase could be rescinded.
For the Plymouth Water Department the impact was much smaller. Del Monte uses well water but between the two, the city will see a reduction in revenues of about $170,000. Looking at the numbers a 12% increase in rates was recommended and would be completed in a one-time rate increase in January 2018.
Walsh said the state average of water usage is 5,000 gallons so looking at the current waste water rate of $24.68, the phase I increase would raise it to $27.16 while the phase II increase would make that monthly bill $29.88 and the third phase would make it $32.86 monthly. Walsh noted that a survey of other communities in with a population similar to Plymouth that state average for waste water monthly billing is over $41.00 a month. Even with the 30% rate increase the City of Plymouth would still be substantially lower than other communities our size.
The Plymouth City Council will consider ordinances to increase rates for waste water and water bills on first reading at their Monday, November 13th meeting.