Water, sewer rates increase July 1

Fayetteville Public Utilities water and sewer customers will see increases of six-percent in water rates and 11-percent in sewer rates on July 1 as recommended by the Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS). MTAS conducts annual rate studies to weigh the utility's operational costs against its revenues.

FPU remains under a state-mandated agreed order that calls for extensive water and wastewater system improvements. This order resulted from the moratoriums placed on Fayetteville Public Utilities over the past few years. Most of the moratoriums have been lifted due to recent improvements and upgrades to the water and sewer system.

According to a recent rate study of 252 water and wastewater systems in the state, Fayetteville Public Utilities' rates fall in the middle of the pack, according to MTAS representatives.

"Having rates among the cheapest is not something to be proud of when the result is an inadequate system that could be dangerous to the health and prosperity of our community," says Britt Dye, general manager and CEO of Fayetteville Public Utilities.

Under the new rate structure, the average residential water bill for customers inside the city, based on 5,000 gallons of usage, will be $27.33, up from the average of $26.23 last month. On the wastewater side, the average bill, based on 5,000 gallons, will be $34.16, up from the average of $31.94 last month. The minimum residential water bill for customers inside the city, based on a minimum use of 100 cubic feet, will increase from $7.98 to $8.00. The minimum sewer bill will climb from $8.40 to $10.

Sharon Rollins, a consultant with MTAS, states that given the current capital investment program and revenue structure, the water and sewer utility of Fayetteville Public Utilities must plan toward revenue enhancement in order to sustain operations.

MTAS also reported to the FPU board of directors that future rate restructuring would be necessary to fully meet all the financial requirements of the water and sewer operations, maintenance, and future plans for system upgrades.