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Categorized | City Hall Corner, News

Water and sewer rates


By Mike Womack, Cedar Springs City Manager

Water and sewer rates are about to be raised and you deserve to know the numbers and why the rates need to be increased. If you’re like me, you don’t want it sugar coated and you want “just the facts ma’am.” The facts are that the City is changing a few things about our water and sewer billing practices and rates. 

The first is a minor rate adjustment of 3 percent on water and 5 percent on sewer.  The rate for 1000 gallons of water is now $4.70, up from $4.56 and the rate for sewer is now $7.05 per 1000 gallons, up from $6.71. Water and sewer rates were last adjusted in 2016. Since 2016, the State of Michigan has mandated new expensive testing and water safety requirements (Flint and PFAS) and the billing system has not accounted for the three years of inflation, which represents a 2 percent loss (approximately $35,000) in value each year.  

The monthly flat rate is going to be changed in two ways; we are converting from the Residential Equivalency Unit (REU) system of measurement to the Ready to Serve (RTS) system of measurement and the flat rate will also see the same 3 percent water rate increase and 5 percent sewer rate increase for residential customers.  This means that residential customers, those homes using a 5/8 inch water meter, will see their water flat rate go from $9.35 per month to $9.63 a month and their sewer flat rate go from $21.35 per month to $22.42 per month, changing the complete flat rate from $30.70 to $32.05 per month.  A family that uses an average of 6,000 gallons per month will see their monthly bill go up from $98.32 to $102.55, an increase of $4.23 per month or $50.76 per year. This means that the price of water to be pumped to your home and then cleaned after use increases from 1.638 cents to 1.709 cents per gallon.

The other part of the rate change is going from the REU system to the RTS system. The overwhelming majority of single family residential homes will feel no effects and see no additional changes to their bills due to the switchover from the REU to RTS system, which almost entirely affects businesses alone. The 2-3 single family residential homes that might be affected by this change will be contacted by City Hall to discuss what their best options might be moving forward. The basics of this change are that the REU system is very outdated and it set water rates for businesses based upon certain factors such as how many cash registers a restaurant had, how many square feet a warehouse had or how many exam rooms a doctor’s office had.  The REU system was the standard method of setting water rates for many years until the more modern method of charging by meter size (the RTS system) was developed.  Under the new RTS system, rates are set based upon the size of the water meter servicing the property. The RTS system is systemically more fair and levels the playing field for businesses. This change modernizes how Cedar Springs sets water and sewer rates and will ultimately be better for businesses and the community moving forward. 

If you have any thoughts, questions or concerns about these changes please contact City Hall at 616-696-1330 or you can contact the City online at https://cityofcedarsprings.org/contact/

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