In response to rate changes from the town’s water suppliers, the Windsor Town Board adopted a 4.5 percent increase to town water rates at the board’s Nov. 25 meeting.
The new rates will generate an estimated $115,000 in increased revenue next year and will take effect Jan. 15.
Dean Moyer, town director of finance and information systems, said the town adopted a three-tiered water rate system this time last year.
The town’s three-tiered system is based on monthly usage, with the first tier covering up to 16,000 gallons per month, Moyer said. The second tier covers 16,001 gallons per month up to 22,500 gallons per month, and the third tier for more than 22,500 gallons per month, he said.
Last year, the town’s water suppliers increased water costs by 13 percent and the town decided it would absorb the cost increase in order to implement the town’s three-tiered water rate system, Moyer said.
“We had wanted to institute our three-tiered system without a price increase, unfortunately, to keep our water fund whole during the course of the year, we did end up increasing the usage rate on that per-1,000 gallons by three-and-a-half percent.”
The rate increase went into effect in January 2013, the first year of three-tiered system, Moyer said. During discussions with town officials last year, the town adopted a policy that said if the town sees an increase in rates from suppliers one year, it would not institute an increase for its customers until the following year, he said.
This year, Moyer said two of the town’s water suppliers, the North Weld County Water District and the South Fort Collins Sanitation District, have said they will not increase water rates for the town. The town’s other water supplier, the city of Greeley, has said it will decrease water costs by 5 percent, he said.
“If we go back to the previous year, I mentioned that we had a 13 percent increase in the cost of the water to us,” Moyer said. “Three-and-a-half percent we passed along to the consumers, leaving us with 9.5 percent basically to eat, or swallow, or as it were, wash down with water.”
Now with the city of Greeley’s, 5 percent decrease, Moyer recommended the board increase rates by 4.5 percent to cover the increase incurred by the town last year.
Board member Myles Baker said the situation seemed like a “public relations nightmare” with rates going down from water suppliers but going up for the town’s customers.
Mayor John Vazquez said he agreed with Baker’s comments.
“I think it’s going to be extremely important that we communicate that ... we’ve been absorbing some of these increases over the last several years, realizing some of the struggles that were going on in our economy and with our citizens,” Vazquez said.