PORTAGE | The Portage Utility Services Board took under advisement Wednesday a proposal that would hike commercial sewer rates.
Otto Krohn of O.W. Krohn And Associates of Westfield, Ind., told board members the utility department needs to increase revenue to raise debt service coverage ratios and increase funds for sewer maintenance and projects.
Krohn said the department's 125 percent debt service ratio should be increased to 150 percent. The department's $500,000 maintenance budget also should be increased, he said.
The proposal would not affect single-family homeowners.
The biggest increases would be for commercial users who now pay a minimum monthly bill of $23.50. They could see their bills double if the proposal is approved.
Krohn suggested the Utility Board raise the minimum use from 4,100 gallons per month to 8,300 gallons per month. He also proposed raising rates from $5.22 per 1,000 gallons to $5.64 per 1,000 gallons.
Those commercial users presently using over the minimum would see an 8 percent increase in their sanitary sewer bill, said Krohn, adding rates have not been adjusted since 1987.
Mayor James Snyder said he felt the proposal is fair. Snyder said he owns a business in the city that presently pays the same sewer rate as he does at his home.
"These numbers keep us extremely low in the grand scheme of things and keeps us competitive," said Snyder.
The only residential users that would be affected by the proposal are mobile homes and apartments. Krohn said those two properties presently pay a discounted rate from what single-family homes are charged. The proposal would bring their rate up equal to that of a single-family home, or $23.50 per month.
If approved, the increases would generate an additional $700,000 in annual revenue.
The board took the recommendation under advisement until its March meeting. The City Council also would have to consider any rate increase.