City water rates make take a drop

ALPENA – The Alpena Municipal Council is ready to move ahead with a water and sewer rate increase for the city and Alpena Township, but it could be less for average users than what originally was proposed.

During Monday’s council meeting City Engineer Rich Sullenger said the new rates would be lowered from $6.08 for water and $6.63 for sewer to $4.95 and $5.35 respectively.

Sullenger said the township appears to be moving in a different direction than the unified system approach the city had proposed, and waiting to increase rates only will slow needed improvement projects. He said charging the same monthly fee for all users is the fair move, considering the city has not raised water and sewer rates for the township for three years, while city residents have taken on higher utility bills.

Customers will be billed per 1,000 gallons used, with additional fees for operation and maintenance and ready-to-serve charge and a billing fee. The estimated bill for a user who runs 3,000 gallons of water a month would be $26.14 or $72.42 a quarter.

“The bottom line is the township would be treated like every other customer. The same as Lafarge, the same as myself or anyone else,” Sullenger said. “We cannot define how these rates will impact the customers in the township, because we do not set the rate to their customers.”

Council scheduled a public hearing for March 3 at 7 p.m. where Sullenger will again explain the proposed rates and the council can take in public comment over the issue. The council could vote on the matter and the new rates implemented on April 1.

In other business:

  • the city hired Werth Electric to upgrade some electrical issues at the water treatment plant so it will work with a new pump. There were a pair of bids submitted and Werth was the lowest at $5,435.
  • the council approved a 24 hour noise variance for the Relay for Life event that begins on Aug. 16 and concludes on Aug. 17. The event will have a new location in 2014, as it will move from the fairgrounds to a lot on Fletcher Street.

Steve Schulwitz can be reached via email at sschulwitz@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5689. Follow Steve on Twitter ss_alpenanews. Read his blog, Upon Further Review … at www.thealpenanews.com