Green River Star -

By Lillian Palmer
Staff Writer 

Utility rates will increase in GR

 


Utility rates in Green River will not decrease.

A utility rate study conducted by NewGen will not have solid estimates of what the rates may look like in the future, but rates will increase.

The recommended changes will more than likely be implemented by the next fiscal year, July of 2017, city finance director Chris Meats said at a city budget workshop last week.

“The rates aren’t going down,” Meats said. “All the funds will need to increase to different extents. There’s some big ticket items. We’re just trying to mitigate the increase.”

Meats said the various enterprise funds and rates throughout the city are on varying philosophies. The study will put everyone on the same page and the same rate philosophy.

“The second thing it’s going to do is tell us if we’re way off from industry standards across the nation.”

The study’s results will help align Green River to standard industry guidelines.

Even though rates most likely won’t be going down for Green River, the study has also revealed the city charges residents a reasonable price for the standard of service residents receive.

“We’re not overcharging, that’s good,” Meats said.

The study will also give the city a 10-20 year forecast of what future rates should be, taking city projects and budget into consideration. With help from the study, there will be no surprise jump in rates. If there is an increase, it will be gradual.

“We want to cushion that financial impact on citizens as much as possible,” Meats said.

Meats said if and when there are increases in rates, the goal is to make it a manageable increase for residents; slow, incremental increases.

The city’s solid waste rate jumped up 25 percent from fiscal year 2014 to 2015. It went from $19 to $24.50.

“We want to try to keep that from happening in the future,” Meats said. “We want to try to avoid that as much as possible.”

Meats said the city had built up in expenses and several other small things lead to the increase that year. The study will forecast increases or decreases in future city funds and plan future utility rates accordingly.

Meats said before the final draft of the rates is presented, a public meeting will be hosted in June or July for public comment and consideration. The more input the city receives on the issue, the better, he said.

“We’re trying to project 10 years out to keep rates systematic and sustainable,” Meats said. “We want to provide the best service for the lowest possible rate, that’s our goal.”

 

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