Water and Sewer 2011 Fee Increases
- When will I see the full impact of the fee increases in my bill?
The full impact of the fee increase will not be experienced until the September 30, 2011 bills come out. Prior to that time, the increases will be phased in. For example, if your bill is for the period ending July 31st (May, June and July), then your bill will include two months at the old rates and one month at the new rates or 1/3 of the full impact. Assuming that your usage is constant, your bill would be roughly 30% higher than your previous quarterly bill.
- How much more will I pay for sewer and water?
It depends on your customer type, meter size and usage.
|Quarterly Water Use ||Old Bill ||New Bill |
|5,000 gallons ||$33.79 ||$60.84 |
|10,000 gallons ||$59.99 ||$110.13 |
|15,000 gallons ||$86.19 ||$165.68 |
|20,000 gallons ||$112.39 ||$221.23 |
|25,000 gallons ||$138.59 ||$292.38 |
|30,000 gallons ||$164.79 ||$363.53 |
- Why did the City need to raise the water and sewer rates?
The City’s water and sewer enterprise funds are supposed to be self-sustaining through rates that cover all operating, maintenance, financing and capital costs. Since 1999, during a time in which the average sewer rates for the 50 largest cities in the U.S. increased by more than 100 percent and the average water rates increased by more than 95 percent, the City's rates increased by 0 percent and 24 percent, respectively. As a result, the City’s General Fund has subsidized the water and sewer funds to the tune of several million dollars.
Also, the City is served by a water treatment plant that dates back to 1927 and has reached the end of its useful life. This is an extremely important issue as clean water is critical to every single resident and visitor in Annapolis. Public health, the economy, and our environment will be compromised if the City fails to properly care for its water and sewer systems. The City must invest millions of dollars in its utilities infrastructure over the next 20 to 25 years in order to keep these resources viable. If these investments are not made the City runs the risk of experiencing major system failures such as water main breaks as experienced over the last few years by the City of Baltimore and the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission. Read more information on the water and sewer infrastructure needs in the US.
- Are there alternate payment plans?
Property owners can contact the Utilities Billing Office at 410-263-7953 to discuss alternate payment plans.
- Why do customers with larger meters have to pay higher fees?
The size of a customer’s meter represents the potential demand that they can place on the water system (i.e. a residential 5/8” meter can demand a relatively small amount of water from the system, where as a 6” meter can demand significantly more water). As a result, it costs more to maintain the water supply for a larger meter and it also costs significantly more to replace and maintain a larger meter. Imposing fixed charges by meter size is common industry practice and represents an equitable allocation of system costs.
- Why are out-of-city customers charged so much more for water?
It costs more to deliver water and sewer services outside of the city and the Out-of-City multipliers were set based on policy decisions.
- Why do we need to spend so much money on a new Water Treatment Plant?
The City’s water treatment plant dates back to 1927 and is at the end of its useful life. A detailed study was done to evaluate alternatives for upgrading the existing plant versus constructing a new plant. The study concluded that, based on a life cycle cost analysis, building a new plant is most cost effective. The estimate for the new plant is in the range of 30 to 50 million dollars. This range is consistent with costs for other plants and major upgrade water treatment projects in the Mid-Atlantic region. The City is taking action to try and reduce the cost of the water plant to the greatest extent possible and will likely obtain low interest financing for the project through the Maryland Department of the Environment which will significantly reduce the cost of borrowing funds to construct the new plant.
- How do Annapolis’ water and sewer rates compare to the rates in other cities and counties?
The rates are much closer to being in-line with other area municipalities. For example, the City’s combined rates for a typical residential customer will be slightly higher than the City of Rockville and the City of Salisbury, but lower than the City of Westminster.
- Are there plans to increase the rates further in the future?
Only incremental increases (less than 5%) are expected in future years to cover the typical inflation and energy cost increases. These modest increases will help to eliminate the need for rate increases on par with those just adopted by the City by ensuring that revenues remain inline with system expenses.