Sewer Rates To Rise 13 Percent Over Next Two Years

Sewerage Authority Executive Director Joe Danielsen said a number of factors went into his recommendation that sewer service charges be increased over the next two years.

The costs of planned capital projects will force a 13 percent hike in the annual fees for customers of the Franklin Township Sewerage Authority over the next two years, with the bulk of that increase to take effect in November.

The Authority’s Board of Commissioners on October 4 approved a request for the increase by Authority Executive Director Joe Danielsen.

An increase of 10 percent will take effect on November 1, and “at least” an additional 3 percent hike is coming in 2023, Danielsen said.

The initial hike will raise residential rates by about $33 a year, bringing the annual total to $363.

Danielsen said the tentative 2022-2023 budget anticipated the 10 percent increase.

The $16.3 million budget is about $1.9 million larger than the 2021-22 spending plan, overwhelmingly due to the service charge increases to the Authority’s residential, corporate and industrial customers.

In total, revenue from residential service charges is expected to be $9,043,543 in 2022-23, up 1,093,543 or 13.8 percent over the prior year.

Service charge income from business and commercial customers is expected to be $3,501,734, up $310,780 or 9.7 percent from the prior year, and service charges for industrial customers is expected to rise by 19.2 percent, from $2,661,693 last year to $3,172,483 this year.

Danielsen said the fee increase was necessary because the Authority has to “have a balance of cash versus how much borrowing we do. It’s a delicate balance at some points, relative to projected projects we have and their costs.”

Also playing a part in the rate hikes are a “significant inflation increase, a reduction in available labor, and supply chain” issues, Danielsen said.

Danielsen said it’s also important for the Authority to have a high ratio of revenue versus expenditures to be able to qualify for low-rate bonding.

The budget accommodates a 55 percent increase in the cost of professional fees, a 26 percent hike in the cost of building and ground equipment, and a 39 percent increase in the cost of the Authority’s collection system, all attributed to capital projects that have been scheduled.

The Authority’s budget is being reviewed by the state Auditor, Danielsen said.

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