Water rates in Menomonee Falls could spike as much as 9 percent

Aug. 18, 2014

Menomonee Falls — The fight to keep water rates down continues in Menomonee Falls.

The proposed 28.7 percent increase to the village of Menomonee Falls Milwaukee Water Works has dropped slightly to 26.6 percent, but that is not enough of a decrease to save the average homeowner in the village from a water bill spike of as much as 9 percent.

Director of Utilities Jeff Nettesheim on August 18 updated the board on the status of the proposed increase, which is currently in the final stages of review by the Public Service Commission.

As it stands, the increase would affect the 87 percent of homeowners whose water is sourced from Lake Michigan. The other 13 percent of the village west of the subcontinental divide is serviced by wells. The exact figures will not be known until the Public Service Commission approves it, which it hopes to do by August. The PSC does not have oversight of sewer rates.

It is the second time in recent years the village was faced with the potential for an increase of this size. In 2010, a proposed 36 percent hike was reduced to 8.2 percent through negotiations with the PSC. A consultant team has been testifying on the village's behalf to the PSC, which is expected to make a decision by mid-September.

Based on the average household size of 2.5 people in Menomonee Falls, Nettesheim estimated the average water bill at about $232 a quarter, or just shy of $930 a year. The bill is broken down between a sewer charge of about $158, a meter charge of about $11 and a flow charge of $63. The flow charge is what would be susceptible to the increase, Nettesheim said. Using the estimate of a 9-percent increase, the change could amount to a $5.67 additional charge per quarter, or about $23 a year.

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