Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Bellevue water rates could rise for some

City plans to charge residents more for heavy consumption


By TONY EVANS
Express Staff Writer

Bellevue residents who consume more than 12,000 gallons of water per month will see a spike in their monthly fees when the city begins water metering within the next five years. Photo by Willy Cook

When Bellevue residents start having their water consumption measured, sometime within the next few years, some of them could be in for a surprise. Those using more than 12,000 gallons of water per month will see a significant jump in their monthly water bills.

The City Council voted unanimously Thursday, June 28, to reduce the monthly base consumption rate from 24,000 gallons per month to 12,000 gallons per month. The city now charges a flat rate of $25.20 per month for any amount of water use, but that will change when residents are charged based on consumption when a metering system is completed in the next three to five years.

The reduction in the base consumption rate was based on a study conducted by the city, using water consumption rates measured on 50 water meters installed over the past two years.

The study, which took into account monthly charges in other Idaho towns such as Driggs and Challis, showed that Bellevue residents use on average about 12,000 gallons per month. Yet some use much more.

"Some people wash three cars every other day. Others keep an entire city block green all summer," Councilwoman Barb Patterson said.

Those consuming more than 12,000 gallons per month would be required to pay 87 cents per additional 1,000 gallons. Therefore, if the water meters were completed and in operation today, residents using 24,000 gallons would pay $36.20 per month.

Time will tell if water consumption in Bellevue goes down as a result, or if people choose to pay more for more water.

The city's goal in implementing the water metering system is to conserve water, and to make sure enough revenues come into the city's water fund to pay for a newly implemented water delivery system.

Tony Evans: tevans@mtexpress.com




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