Steep rise in Kingsbury’s water rates |

Steep rise in Kingsbury’s water rates

Water bills for Kingsbury residents will be significantly higher beginning this summer.

The Kingsbury General Improvement District Board of Trustees approved Thursday a 13.25 percent hike in water rates, effective July 1.

“The primary reason for the rate increase is to be able to continue providing funds for capital improvements to the water system,” said Candi Rohr, general manager for the district. “We had a public hearing on the subject which was very lightly attended – only about five families showed up.”

The hike affects all 2,500 residential and commercial Kingsbury water connections. Flat-rate residential customer rates are increasing from $37.75 to $42.75 a month, and commercial meter rates, now $3.28 per 1,000 gallons, are increasing to $3.71 per 1,000 gallons.

“This is a significant increase and we recognize that, but it’s long overdue,” Rohr said. “The board and management wish they didn’t have to do this.”

The rate increase is long overdue, according to board Chairman Jim Beattie, and crucial toward avoiding future water line complications on the 46-year-old water lines.

“We have these old, old lines with hundreds of leaks, and the situation is getting worse,” Beattie said in March, when the board initially proposed the hike. “But we just didn’t have the money in the last few years, mainly because of massive snow removal needs and road repairs.”

Last year, when the district began running out of money to keep the roads clear during a series of particularly heavy snowfalls, Beattie said the board decided to impose a $13.50 monthly snow removal fee on Kingsbury residents to help offset the growing road repair and snow removal costs.

“That didn’t help the water situation though, but we did not feel it was appropriate to hit people with a double-whammy,” he said. “Three years later though, it’s time to take action.”

The last water rate increase took effect July 1996 – a 5.6 percent hike. The 1999 increases will be used for major repairs on the 33 miles of deteriorating water lines in the district.

“Basically, we have deteriorating water systems, our water lines are old and leaking. We have miles of water lines and water tanks that need repair and replacement. We need pump station improvements,” Rohr said. “The current rates are not providing sufficient funds for these capital improvements which need to take place.”

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