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St. Paul Park raises utility rates, lowers base value

St. Paul Park has increased utility billing rates. Katie Nelson / RiverTown Multimedia

St. Paul Park is raising prices and lowering the value of the utility base rate in a recommendation from the Department of Natural Resources.

The city council voted to increase water rates by 1 percent, and sewer rates by 3 percent. Currently, the bill is charged based on the first 9,000 gallons used, but the city also voted to drop that value to the first 8,000 gallons used per quarterly billing cycle.

Mayor Sandi Dingle said the value decrease was recommended by the DNR.

"I can definitely see a need to move down to the 8,000 gallon amount, just because that's the trend that's going, and that's what DNR would like, and in keeping with neighboring cities, I think we're still offering up a quite a bit more than they are as far as the of your first zero to 8,000 gallons would still be the same," she said.

An average water bill is estimated to increase about $10, based on 12,000-gallon usage.

At the current rate, a 12,000-gallon bill costs $104. With the changes, residents using 12,000 gallons would be charged approximately $113.

"This is as low as we can get away with and keep the enterprise funds running the way they're supposed to," council member Tim Jones said. "This is the right thing to do."

In coming years, the city will have to rehabilitate one of the water towers, replace the water and sewer monitoring system and implement an inflow and infiltration reduction program. Together, the three projects are estimated to cost $850,000.

The increases affect any single family, multi-family or commercial building in the city.

The city council studies the rates and water usage every year.

It will go into effect Jan. 1, 2018.