Yesterday evening during the monthly Silver Lake town council meeting Eric Walsh, a representative from Umbaugh, presented information on an upcoming raise in both sewage and water rates throughout the town.
According to Walsh, the need to raise the water and sewer rates arose after numerous years passed where the rate was unchanged or even lowered. As time continued forward, the lack of adjusting the rates to the times has caused a major depletion in the town’s water and sewer reserves.
Walsh noted that because of the past rates, the town was no longer meeting cash balance limits and strongly recommended the town take action immediately to ensure reserves could be rebuilt. Walsh stated the rates were unchanged and then reduced in 2007 and 2008, marking approximately 15-20 years that the rates were not adjusted to meet the town’s needs.
A three phase plan of action was presented by Walsh to slowly bring rates up to standard. During phase one, rates would increase approximately $6.50 a month. This includes both sewage and water costs. The first phase would be implemented this summer.
The second phase, which would be a slightly smaller increase, would be between $3 to $4 and would begin July 2016. The final phase would raise prices $2 more and would be implemented in July of 2017. Walsh noted the increase would equal a total of $12 a month by the third year. These raises follow a raise last year of just over $5.
“We take raising the water and sewer rates very seriously — we don’t take this lightly,” explained Chad Miner, town council president. “If we don’t start doing something we are going to start having a serious problem”
Miner noted the goal for the town is to restore the depleted reserves then look at completing very necessary capital projects. Miner also noted that the water and sewer reserves will be used to improve water and sewer lines and infrastructure.
Walsh noted that while the adjustments are a decent size over the next few years, a more proactive approach will be taken by Town Clerk-Treasurer Tonya Conley to ensure sewage and water rates are where they should be. In the future, smaller rate adjustments will be implemented regularly instead of large changes all at once.