Sewer charges may increase

Posted 10/8/09

Littleton residents could soon see their monthly sewer bills increase by about $2. Littleton City Council will decide Oct. 20 whether to approve a 9 …

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Sewer charges may increase


Littleton residents could soon see their monthly sewer bills increase by about $2.

Littleton City Council will decide Oct. 20 whether to approve a 9 percent increase in 2010 annual sanitary sewer charges for residents both inside and out of the city.

If passed, inside city single family residential rates will increase by $18.86 for a total of $228.45 per year.

This fee includes a charge to maintain the collection system that serves city customers.

Outside city customers would pay $17.16 more per year for a total of $209.59.

Even with the proposed increase, Littleton’s 2010 rates would remain lower than most surrounding municipalities, according to a rate comparison chart created by the city’s finance department.

Castle Rock charges $582 per year. Highlands Ranch’s annual rate is $356 and Englewood’s is $246.

The proposed increase should help the city meet bond requirements and future capital needs, according to the city’s accounting manager, Denise Grizzle.

A $5 million cash balance must be maintained within the Sewer Utility Fund as a requirement of the bonds issued in 2004 to expand the Littleton Englewood Wastewater Treatment Plant.

At their budget deliberations, council directed staff to maintain an additional $2 million in the fund to act as a buffer for future projects.

Maintaining only $5 million would leave the city with little money for unexpected costs, Grizzle said.

“If something happened to the plant we wouldn’t be able to repair it,” she said.

The new rate should come as no surprise to Littleton residents who have seen an increase in charges for several years, yet this is one of the first times rates for inside city customers have equaled those of outside city customers.

In 2008, the city council made a decision to increase sewer fees by 20 percent for residents outside city limits, mainly unincorporated Jefferson County, while keeping rates for city residents unchanged.

Council justified the sewer fee increase, based on census data stating an average of 2.76 people live in each dwelling unit outside the city, compared to 2.24 inside, a 23.2 percent difference.

The assumption was that every one of the people outside the city was using their toilets, thus providing more sewage to treat outside the city.

Also at their Oct. 20 council meeting, councilmembers are expected to approve the transfer of almost $12 million from the Water Utility Fund to the Special Projects Fund, as well as an estimated $368,000 in interest earnings to the General Fund in 2009.

The transfer will also help ensure that the city can pay off about $1.4 million in lease/purchase payment obligations, including work at the museum, a fire station, the fleet building and the courthouse, and maintain service and programs over the next few years.

The Special Revenue Funds are used for public facilities, conservation trust, grants, the Shopping Cart program, open space and other special revenue needs. The city’s enterprise funds account for specific programs similar to business units. These funds are: water utility, storm drainage, sewer utility, South Metro communications center, Geneva Village, emergency medics and permit plan review.


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