Proposed Tempe Utility Rate Changes Offer Customers More Options

Published: Wednesday, November 29, 2017 - 7:24am
Updated: Thursday, November 30, 2017 - 3:55pm

The Tempe City Council will consider new rates for water, sewage and solid waste at its meeting Thursday.

The biggest proposed water change is for customers who use between 20 and 40,000 gallons of water a month who would pay $4.61 per thousand gallons of water from $5.04.

“It acknowledges efficient irrigation for a larger lot so their turf area, their trees, all of their landscapable (sic) area, is taken into account for a 16,000-square-foot lot within that range,” said Steve White, Tempe Public Works Planning and Research Analyst.

Single-family residential water rates would be split into five tiers (previously four) and operate on a basic principle.

“The more water you use, the higher the cost of water is,” White said.

Residents who use less than 6,000 gallons of water a month would pay $1.80 per thousand gallons, while those who use more than 40,000 gallons a month pay up to $5.10 per thousand gallons.

The average user would see their water bill go up 25 cents for every thousand gallons of water.

Last year, the city of Tempe canceled water rate increases amid concerns from residents. This year's rate study process included significant public outreach such as public meetings, working groups, Homeowners Association presentations and the ability to comment online.

Tempe hired a consultant to analyze years of water usage to set the new prices.

“The whole point of a rate study and an evaluation process is to make sure that every customer class is paying their fair and proportional share of the cost that they place on our water system and sewer system for that matter,” White said.

RELATED: Tempe Water Rate Changes On The Horizon

That doesn’t always mean cost increases. For example, the city has proposed a cap on sewage rates at 12,000 gallons. Sewer rates are currently calculated by average water use during the winter months. This change could benefit users who would otherwise exceed the 12,000 gallon mark. Tempe could also start offering smaller garbage cans that correspond with reduced rates next year.

If the council approves the new water rates later this week, they’ll take effect in January. Changes to sewer and trash rates would start in May.

“We’re going to continue to explore ways that we can be as equitable as possible in the pricing of our water,” White said.

For a comprehensive look at the months-long process leading up to Thursday’s vote visit Tempe’s website.

See how Tempe's proposed rates compare to other Valley cities.

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