Springfield City Council To Vote On Utility Rate Hikes Monday

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – When the holiday weekend comes to an end, Springfield City Council will decide whether to raise ratepayers’ water, natural gas and sewer bill.

If the council approves the hikes on Monday, gas, water and sewer will increase each year from 2018-2020.

City Utilities Forecasting and Pricing Director Ray Ross said some of Springfield’s water and gas systems are like a problem with a car engine that only gets worse the longer a driver avoids taking it to the shop.

“Like most utilities we are faced with infrastructure [issues] in that regard,” Ross said. “In order to ensure continuity of safe and reliable services in the future, we have to make some investments in those systems.”

Over the last few years, CU has had a piecemeal approach to replacing old water pipes and gas lines.

“You could be replacing mains and services in response to leak evidence that you’ve accumulated that ok, this area has higher instance of leaks so we need to deal with that sooner,” Ross said. “But for the most part it’s a matter of age. Go for the oldest ones first.”  

Funding is running out to do the work that still needs to be done.

“These rates that we’re hoping to get city council to approve on Monday, will actually complete that program and give us sustainable funding for main and service replacements,” Ross said.

The rate hikes will make the average customers’ bill go up by about $6 a year for each service from 2018-2020.

“It’s a substantial rate increase, but these are investments that we need to make in the system,” Ross said. “But we’re hoping by phasing them in that our customers can accommodate them and deal with them.”

Water and gas are handled by CU and sewers by the City of Springfield, but the council will vote on these hikes as a bundle of proposals on Monday.

Right now, the average Springfield family spends about $190 per month on water, gas and sewer.

If these are approved, expect that to go up to about $225 per month in 2021.
 

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