Buffalo's City Council, at their Tuesday meeting, passed Ordinance No. 1360, raising the city's sewer rates 100 percent across the board.
As an example, residential rates will increase from $10.30 per month to $20.60 per month.
The reason for the increase is by state statute the sewer fund must be self-sustaining so rates must be adjusted to pay for operating costs, maintenance and for a depreciation fund, as mandated by the state. The city has nearly $3 million in outstanding loans for the construction of the Federally-mandated sewage treatment plant, which was completed last year. Those loans must be paid back.
Councilman Stan Lakin made a suggestion for the city to look into setting up an account where city residents could contribute funds to help the elderly and others pay their sewer bills, and the idea will be looked into further.
Discussions continued with councilmen Dave Long and Russ Humphrey suggesting that the city take funds set aside in their water fund to help offset increased costs in the sewer fund.
Mayor Randy Dyess explained that with upcoming water projects would be payed for with those funds, so to use them now would mean an increase in water rates in the future, and probably a larger increase in the sewer rate as well.
The Mayor suggested the council take the recommendation of City Clerk Julie Silbernagel to increase the sewer rate.
The Ordinance passed on a 3-2 vote, with councilmen Humphrey and Long voting no.