By Suzy Kridner
NEW SMYRNA BEACH - Beginning with their November bill from the Utilities Commission, residents here will see their rates for wastewater and reclaimed/reuse water go up 12 percent, about $2 a month.
The previous base charge of $16.62 will increase to $18.61 for residential customers who use an average of 5,000 gallons of water per month, according to a resolution adopted last week by the Utilities Commission.
There was no discussion at a public hearing held prior to the Oct. 15 meeting.
The total monthly wastewater charges will increase from $34.77 to $38.96.
The rates are based on the meter size, the base facility charge and the amount of water used (gallonage charge).
The potential increase had been under consideration and discussion for about two years since a rate study, and then the proposed increase was included in the FY2013 Utilities Commission budget, according to Debra Simmons, executive administrator.
A flyer was inserted in the September bills notifying residents of the proposed rate changes, two public hearings and the vote to be taken at the October meeting.
"The Utilities Commission has maintained low service rates for water and wastewater and reclaimed/reuse in our area which have been realized with cost containment efforts and deferment of non-essential capital improvement projects," according to the flyer.
"Increased regulatory and operating costs and debt service for required capital improvements in the wastewater and reclaimed/reuse services requires additional revenues for the commission to comply with legal mandates."
After a rate study, the staff developed a phased approach to meet cost recovery requirements - a 12 percent rate increase with future borrowing (early 2013) for funding of required capital improvements. The commission's Water Reclamation Facility is operated 24 hours a day, 365 days per year by seven state licensed and certified operators.