Albion approves changes to water, sewer bills

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 November 2022 at 12:24 pm

Low-volume users will pay less while average users pay about $25 more per quarter

ALBION – The Albion Village Board approved changes in its water and sewer rates with a more simplified system that bills customers for actual water and sewer usage, rather than a minimum bill for the first 5,100 gallons.

Some people would get billed for 5,100 gallons of use even if they only used 2,000 gallons.

The result in the new changes will be smaller quarterly water and sewer bills for low-volume users, while an average user will pay about $25 more per quarter.

“We’re not trying to raise this to make a fortune,” said Deputy Major Joyce Riley during a board meeting last Wednesday. “It’s to continue to provide safe water for the public.”

The new water rates lower the rate from $3.61 to $3.39 per 1,000 gallons for the village residents and commercial customers. And the village eliminates a $5 quarterly administrative fee.

The big changes are the addition of a new base charge at $21 per quarter for residents with ¾” meter and how the village does a minimum charge. That is currently $28.16 for residents and most small businesses and includes the first 5,100 gallons of water.

The new system puts the minimum at $21.00 per quarter (the base charge) but doesn’t include any water usage. The village will start billing at zero gallons.

The changes should net the village about $100,000 more annually for the $1.7 million annual water fund.

The new water rates were approved by the board on April 27 and will go into effect in the January 2023 bill, while the sewer rates were approved last Wednesday and take effect in the April 2023 bill.

The village operates a sewer system with 24 miles of sewer lines, 600-plus manhole covers, five lift stations and the sewer plant on Densmore Road. The budget for the current sewer fund is $1,249,377.

The sewer bill will include a base charge for $26 per quarter. The rate for village and commercial users will be $3.97 per 1,000 gallons for a ¾” meter, which is a 5-cent drop. Outside-village residential and commercial users will stay at a $4.95 rate.

The correctional facilities will be increased by 25 cents (to $4.35 for water and $4.65 for sewer). Those increases for the two prisons were approved the board two years ago but haven’t been implemented.

Riley said the sewer plant has received about $3 million recently in improvements that were mostly funded with state grants.

“There is a cost to having a service that is good for us and the environment,” she said.

The sewer plant operates at about 84 percent capacity. That excess space is considered one of the village’s big assets in attracting new residential and business development.