The North Sioux City City council discussed increasing water, sewer and garbage rates at their last meeting, Dec. 6. These increases would help keep operations in the black in the upcoming years, especially in lieu of all the water and sewer upgrades the city has planned, including a new water tower, lift station generations, water plant expansion and southwest lift station. The cost for planned expenses on the water side is $18.1 million and $16.5 million on the sewer side 2022-26. If no rate increases are implemented, the city would see their reserve funds go into the red by 2024.

Because of this, the city council discussed implementing a 25 percent increase to water rates, moving current base rates from $18 to $22.50 per 3,000 gallons and an increase from $3 to $3.75 for every 1,000 gallons after 3,000.

In order to receive grant funding and loan forgiveness on water projects, the city’s water rate per 5,000 gallons has to be greater than $30 per residence. North Sioux City’s current rate is $24 per 5,000 gallons.

“As part of the state’s program, they send out, basically, information to all the communities showing them where they need to be with their rate structures so that they feel like you’re contributing to the rates and they’re not just having to fund every project you have,” Jon Brown of Stockwell Engineering explained. “So as a result of that, the state came out with a projected goal for water and sewer rates to be at a certain number. Right now, that projected goal for a 5,000 gallon customer and for the sewer for a 5,000 gallon customer, is supposed to be, as a goal, at $55 apiece. You guys aren’t anywhere close to that.”

See full story in this week’s Dakota Dunes / North Sioux City Times.