Water, trash, building and park tolls?

City Council to consider rate changes at tonight’s meeting

Brace yourself Cortez. Not for the cold, but for proposed rate changes to municipal water, trash, building and park services starting in 2014.

If approved tonight by the city council, residents can expect to pay slightly more for water and trash services as well as extra fees to enjoy parks and recreation offerings. More uniform building permit fees are also on tonight’s 7:30 p.m. City Council agenda.

The public works department has requested a 75-cent base monthly water rate increase for residential customers using a ¾-inch meter. If approved, base water rates would rise from $14.75 to $15.50 per month.

“Currently, the fund is able to maintain its operating costs; however, rate adjustments need to be made to keep up with the rising costs of infrastructure repairs, treatment chemicals and capital expenditures,” City Manager Shane Hale penned in a memo to city council.

Hale said a slight increase now would help the city to avoid larger rate increases in the future. The city has identified “many water lines” that need to be replaced, he added.

The base monthly water rate includes 1,000 gallons of water. City leaders will also consider raising the rates for the second 1,000 gallons of water used from $1.95 to $2.10 per month.

In related news, city leaders will also consider amending the city’s 2013 water enterprise fund from $2.1 million to $2.5 million.

City council members are also expected to raise trash collection fees at tonight’s meeting. Residential rates are proposed to climb from $15.75 to $18 for once-a-week pickup. Increased commercial dumpster rates are also proposed, from $28.25 to $32.25, for once-a-week pickup of 2-yard dumpsters. Three-yard dumpsters are expected to rise from $41.25 to $47.

Hale said the proposed trash hikes were due to increased costs at the county landfill, rising fuel costs, higher wages and volatility in the recycling market.

City leaders will also consider several increased parks and recreation tolls, including green fees at the Conquistador Golf Course and outdoor pool adult fees.

Other proposed fee changes include a flat $40 fee for foundation permits and a flat $225.75 rate use tax fee for manufactured homes.

If approved, the planned city service rates would go into effect Jan. 1.

Also, city leaders will hold two public hearings at tonight’s meeting prior to amending the city’s 2013 budget and adopting the city’s 2014 budget.

The proposed $26.6 million budget for fiscal year 2014 includes a $668,581 surplus. Total revenues of nearly $10.4 million are projected to exceed $9.7 million in total operating expenditures and interfund service transfers in fiscal year 2014.