City residents can probably expect an increase in the rate they pay to the sewer utility in the coming year.
As part of the annual review of the proposed operating budgets of the city’s five utilities, the Menomonie City Council learned Monday night that next three years will be both busy and costly for the wastewater utility.
Public Works Director Randy Eide noted that the quarterly rates for the water, storm water, landfill and parking utilities will remain the same for 2018.
But when it comes to the city’s sewers, Eide said, “It’s going to be busy for the next three years. We just completed a facility plan. ... We’re looking at significant repair, maintenance and repair of the waste water treatment plant.”
In addition to replacing old and worn out items, he said the city also will need to address phosphorus controls and tertiary treatment by 2020 or 2021 at the latest.
According to Paul Sterk, Wastewater Utility Superintendent, the first phase of the improvements outlined in the facility plan could cost up to $7.9 million with an estimated design cost of $575,000. The utility will apply to the Clean Water Fund to finance the project.
Currently city residents pay $81 per quarter to the sewer utility. When compared to 78 other municipalities throughout northwest Wisconsin, Menomonie comes in at 72 for the lowest rate paid. At $356.87 a quarter, Dresser pays the highest rate of all.
What’s being projected for Menomonie is a 3 percent increase to $85.50, based on a family of three consuming 2,500 cubic feet of water, Eide said. The last rate hike happened in 2010.
At its Dec. 18 meeting, the council will review and possibly adopt a resolution that lays out the actual costs of the proposed rate increase.
Item of interest
During his budget report, Water Superintendent Jeremy Hoyt told the council that in 2018, a complete analysis of the city’s water treatment plants operations and maintenance will be undertaken to look for ways to improve the efficiency of water treatment, minimize costs and identify any changes needed.
Hoyt reported that each day, Menomonie uses an average of 2.1 million gallons.
In answer to Alderman Nathan Merrill’s question about how the figure changes during the summer, Hoyt said, “Our highest day is usually sometime in July or August. Typically our highest pumpage day is about 3 million gallons.
“Historically, our lowest day was always Christmas Day,” he added. “The last four years, that’s turned into Thanksgiving Day — about 800,000 gallons on those days.”