MARIETTA - After two years of no increase, Marietta's water and sewer rates are going up in 2013, according to information released during a city council water, sewer and sanitation committee meeting Wednesday.
The sewer rate increase will add an extra $2.84 to the typical bi-monthly bill for a customer using 500 cubic feet of water a month.
Those same typical customers who live within the city limits will also pay an additional $2 per billing period for water service on their bi-monthly bill, while water customers living outside the city will pay an additional $3 every two months.
Sewer rates require council approval, while the water rates are set by the city administration.
"By law the city must cover its costs with water and sewer rates, but the budget for those costs must be built with the intention of breaking even," Bill Dauber, Marietta's assistant safety-service director, told the committee members Wednesday.
He said city expenses covered by water and sewer rates include administrative costs for the billing department, operational costs from the wastewater treatment plant, and costs to reduce the debt service on water and sewer related projects.
Those projects will include the ongoing wastewater treatment plant upgrade, water and sewer lines replacement, and new backup electrical generators for the water plant.
"By volume, based on a unit of 100 cubic feet of water, the sewer rate will be $3.82 per unit in 2013, or 40 cents more than the typical customer paid in 2012," Dauber said. The annual sewer rate would be $199.20 for a customer using 500 cubic feet a month, compared to $182.16 that same customer paid in 2012.
"And we did not raise sewer or water rates last year," he said.
Councilman Tom Vukovic, D-4th Ward, said the city has to cover its water and sewer costs.
"But this is the first significant sewer rate increase since 2009," he said, noting the typical rate rose from $2.96 per 100 cubic feet in 2009 to $3.34 per 100 cubic feet in 2010.
"And the last time council increased the sewer rate was in 2011," said Councilman Mike McCauley, D-2nd Ward, who chairs the water, sewer and sanitation committee.
That rate stayed nearly level, at $3.43 per 100 cubic feet in 2011 and $3.42 per cubic feet in 2012 for the typical customer.
The city's water customers are billed at two different rates, one for in-city customers, and another for those who live outside the city limits, Dauber said.
Based on a typical customer using 500 cubic feet of water a month, the annual water bill for in-city customers will increase from $115.80 in 2012 to $127.80 during 2013, according to figures Dauber presented to the committee members Wednesday.
"Outside customers pay about 1.5 times the rate that customers who live inside the city limits pay," he said. "The average typical 500 cubic feet user will pay about $12 more on his annual bill, while the same customer living outside the city limits will pay an additional $18 a year.
City safety-service director Jonathan Hupp said the proposed water rates have been accepted by the city administration.
McCauley said legislation approving the sewer rate increase is expected to be introduced during today's city council meeting at 7:30 p.m. in the community building at Lookout Park.
The rates would go into effect in January.