Rate aid delayed for CSD clients

Some businesses face steep increases

With rate hikes of 100 percent or more, some area business owners awaiting sewer rate relief can expect further delays.

Last week, Cortez Sanitation District officials announced a special meeting on July 24 to address temporary measures designed to impact 54 of its commercial clients hit hardest by its new rate structure, which took effect Jan. 1. The meeting has been delayed until Aug. 20.

“The July 24th meeting will be postponed in order for the district to give a public notice 30 days in advance of the public hearing,” said CSD manager Tim Krebs.

Krebs said state law required a public hearing for any rate change discussion.

According to CSD records, about 1 in 10 local businesses have seen their sewer rates increase by 100 percent or more this year, generating nearly $140,000 in added revenues for the special district. Some business owners, mainly hotel operators, have seen their rates skyrocket by more than 300 percent since the district started billing customers based on 20-year-old national averages rather than water consumption.

Possible temporary solutions include providing hotels an across-the-board 25 percent discount to restore rates to historic levels or returning rates based on consumption for the 54 commercial customers impacted by 100 percent or more.

Of CSD’s total 4,400 customers, about 500 are commercial clients.