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Newton WaterWorks to increase water rates

Published: Tuesday, June 3, 2014 10:39 a.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, June 3, 2014 11:00 a.m. CDT

During its May meeting, the Newton WaterWorks Board of Trustees voted to increase the retail water rate for customers.  The rate adjustment went into effect on Sunday and will be reflected on the first billing cycle in July 2014.

There were several factors that caused the board to vote on an increase, such as reduced water sale revenues and an increase in operating expenses that are attributed to energy, fuel, treatment chemicals, postage and benefits costs.  

WaterWorks recently had to borrow funds to facilitate construction on new water wells. Currently, nine of the wells that are in use were built prior to 1960. The projected revenue requirements, based on figures fiscal year 2103-2014 operating budget, indicate WaterWorks operating expenses will exceed its income by at least $150,000.

In addition, WaterWorks indicates that its cash reserves are “quite low” and it had to dip into its reserves in order to operate. WaterWorks said that it is imperative that these reserves be built back up to assure Newton’s future water supply.

A small rate adjustment took place in 2012, but WaterWorks said it did not anticipate such a harsh winter which this previous winter season, which resulted in many water main breaks and loss of water. Both of those factors helped contribute to the reduced revenues.

The cost of water is in Newton is still lower than most municipalities at about $0.0032 per gallon, while the national average is $0.0048 per gallon. Water rates and user charges are determined by the board, while sewer and solid waste rates are determined by the Newton City Council

The rate increase is as follows:

Current     New Rate

Minimum Bill – 0 to 200 cu.ft. $8.43       $10.00

All Over 200 Cu.Ft.                   $1.74/100cu.ft. $2.50/100 cu.ft.

*100 Cu.Ft.=748 gallons

Commercial Meter Charge

Meter Size                      Current                    New Rate

5/8” Meter                                 $6.17                   $10.00

5/8x3/4 Meter                           $6.17                   $10.00

3/4  Meter                              $6.48                $10.00

1” Meter                                 $7.43                     $10.00

1 ˝” Meter                              $8.71                     $10.00

*No change to all other meter sizes

Water Rate Comparison with new rate

City               Minimum Bill        800cu.ft         1,000           10,000 cu.ft

Newton$10.00               $25.00           $30.00             $250.00

Ft. Madison $15.83             $38.10             $45.53           $346.50

Altoona        $14.02                $41.06             $50.08           $455.75

Indianola     $11.63                $37.57             $46.14           $434.27

Boone           $10.70               $30.68             $39.43           $581.43

Clive             $10.65                $42.60             $53.25           $532.50

Oskaloosa     $8.48                  $33.92             $42.40           $424.00

West DM     $10.28                 $30.32             $36.98           $337.35

Ames             $14.70                 $27.12             $31.26           $217.56

Ottumwa       $15.19            $22.24             $27.80           $239.00

Ankeny          $12.66            $35.37             $42.72           $373.47

Urbandale      $10,45              $29.80             $36.25           $326.50

A comparison of Newton’s water rates to other cities with Lime Softening process was done by the City of Ames. In a comparison of the Median or average rate vs. the new effective 2014 Newton rate:

Minimum Bill 0-200cu.ft        600        1000     10,000             

Median*-        $12.39             $22.98             $33.32              $261.26                     

Newton-          $10.00             $20,00             $30.00              $250.00                     

100 Cu.Ft= 748 gallons

*2013 Rate Survey, 22 cities-  some cities have increased rates since 2013

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