Water rates for Santa Fe City utility customers will increase by another 8.2 percent as of Jan. 1, but the rate hike is the last expected change in water rates until at least 2018.
“For the next five years, we do not have a projected rate increase,” said Utilities Department Director Brian Snyder. “We have a sound financial plan.”
The Santa Fe City Council voted in 2008 to impose five consecutive years of water-rate increases to help pay for infrastructure improvements and acquisition of water rights. Officials talked about rolling back the proposed increases for the last two years, but decided to leave them in place, Snyder said in a recent interview.
While Snyder said he can’t promise that there won’t be a water-rate increase in 2019, it’s not likely under current conditions, he said.
The Utilities Department has begun its annual financial update for water, wastewater and solid-waste operations.
Wastewater rates shot up by 30 percent in 2010, and three years of 3.2 percent increases were expected. But when officials discovered a larger-than-planned reserve account for wastewater projects, they eliminated the plan for additional increases.
It also appears unlikely, Snyder said, that sewer rates will require an increase in the next three years, although final financial plans for the year are still in draft form.
Trash rates also are expected to jump again in July, when the city moves into the next fiscal year. A 3.2 percent increase went into effect this year and the rates will increase by that amount in 2013, 2014 and 2015, according to city ordinance, Snyder said. Most of the increase is attributed to increases in tipping fees the city pays for depositing trash at the regional landfill.
Contact Julie Ann Grimm at 986-3017 or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @julieanngrimm.