Taxpayers can expect to shell out an additional $43,620 next year to offset increased sewer rates charged by the Cortez Sanitation District.
Cortez Sanitation District (CSD) budget figures released Monday, Nov. 11, indicate that revenue from both municipal and school sewer rates will more than double in the new year if officials approve new billing charges. Annual municipal collections are projected to increase from $27,600 to $52,500, while annual collections from area schools are expected to rise from $19,200 to $37,920.
On Monday, a national holiday, CSD officials held its first of two public hearings on the proposed rate increases. Gerald Vincent of the Lamplighter Condo Association was the only resident in attendance, and he simply wanted CSD officials to explain the new rate structure.
CSD officials said the new rates would follow American Water Works Association (AWWA) guidelines, and be based on square footage rather than consumption. Residential homes, including single-family residences, duplexes, apartments and mobile homes, will be charged a flat $30 monthly sewer fee without regard to the number of occupants.
Sewer rates for commercial businesses, including hotels, governmental agencies, churches and schools, are a little more complicated. Rates for most businesses are calculated based on AWWA specific single-family equivalent (SFE) ratios assigned to different types of businesses multiplied by the square footage. School sewer rates, however, substitute square footage for the number of students, and hotel calculations replace square footage for number and type of rooms.
Some commercial sewer rates are also calculated based on the number of employees, which is the case at the Cortez Journal. Multiplying the total number of newspaper employees, which is about 35 including pressroom operators, with the specific AWWA sanctioned SFE newspaper ratio of .066 and the $30 per monthly flat fee charged for all commercial ventures, the newspaper’s new monthly sewer rate would total $69.30.
Under the new rates, CSD projects to collect more than $2.1 million in service fees in 2014, an increase of more than $77,000 over 2013 revenues. Nearly half, $970,000, of all collections will come from residential users, followed by nearly $400,000 from multifamily residences, more than $630,000 from businesses and $9,000 from churches. CSD’s total operating expenditures in 2014 are projected at nearly $1.6 million.
A final public hearing on the proposed sewer rate increases is scheduled for Dec. 9 at 6:30 p.m.