Utility rates poised for hike

Commission to consider scheduling public hearing

MARQUETTE — Water, sewer and stormwater utility rates have been a hot item discussed among Marquette city officials for the last several months.

After a utility rate study was conducted by the city’s contractor Raftelis, an increase of $16.78 per month, or $201.36 annually, for all three utilities was recommended for the average household in order to keep a balanced budget and the water fund secure. Curt Goodman, director of municipal utilities, has previously said an average household uses about 4,000 gallons of water per month.

The city’s website suggests that average monthly water rates for one adult is currently $66 to $99.94; two adults is $99.94 to $167.82; three adults is $133.88 to $235; and four adults is $167.82 to $303.58.

The Marquette City Commission will determine at its Monday meeting whether to schedule a public hearing for Oct. 9 to consider ordinance 672, an amendment to adjust rates, which would be effective Nov. 1. Stormwater rates would increase by 15.25 percent, water would go up 12.25 percent and sewer would increase 25 percent, if approved at the public hearing.

Officials said a main reason for the anticipated hike is because safeguard funding for emergency issues and ensuring utilities remain sustainable has been questionable over the last several years due to declining state revenue sharing.

While several residents have questioned the possible increase at public meetings, commissioners and other city personnel have said the decision is going to be a tough one to make.

The commission will also review its fiscal year 2019 budget during a public hearing Monday, which was scheduled at its last meeting. Over the last two months, the commission heard in great detail from city department heads who broke down their departments’ budgets.

The proposed fiscal year 2019 budget and Monday’s meeting agenda can be viewed online at the city’s website, www.marquettemi.gov.

The city commission will meet at 6 p.m. in commission chambers at Marquette City Hall, which is located at 300 W. Baraga Ave.

Jaymie Depew can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206. Her email address is jdepew@miningjournal.net.