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Geneva water, sewer rates to rise

Published: Tuesday, June 26, 2012 5:32 a.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, June 26, 2012 5:55 a.m. CDT

GENEVA – City water and sewer customers will see an increase in rates next month and in the next two years in order to pay for ongoing maintenance of Geneva’s aging water and sewer systems.

Acting as the committee of the whole, aldermen recommended a 5 percent increase in water rates and 6 percent increase in sewer rates each year for three years in a 9-1 vote Monday.

For the average residential user of 790 cubic feet of water per month, the increase would be $2.74 per month the rest of this year, $3.21 next year and $3.36 in the third year.

“These are very reasonable increases,” said David Hyder, of Municipal and Financial Services Group of Maryland which prepared the study. “You can proactively manage and reinvest in that system.”

Aldermen acted after the rate study showed the city would not have enough revenue to cover its operating and maintenance costs, let alone replace its aging water and sewer pipes.

The rates will go into effect once the city council takes final action next month.

Hyder said although the city already increased its rates in May, it was not enough to to address the financial needs of maintaining the infrastructure of its water and sewer system.

Even going to a smaller rate increase would not help enough, Hyder said.

“You’re just delaying the inevitable,” Hyder said.

Fifth Ward Alderman Ralph Dantino supported a smaller rate increase, but it was voted down, 7-3. Dantino cast the lone “no” vote on the final vote.

“I have been against these water increases for the last three years,” Dantino said.

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