Monday, May 7, 2012

Water Rates to Rise...Again

KCMO Water Services issues system-wide 14% increase, rate hike trickles to 10% increase in Grandview
by Andrea Wood
Just in time for lawn-watering season, water bills in Kansas City and Grandview will rise by double-digit percentages this month.
As of May 1st, the Kansas City Water Services Department raised rates on their combined (water, wastewater, and stormwater) bill of approximately $9 a month, or about 14%.

The Jackson County Public Water Supply District #1, which primarily serves Grandview, purchases all of its water from Kansas City and saw an 11.9% rate hike from KCMO. JCPW#1 will pass along a 10% rate increase to its customers. An average household in Grandview will see roughly an increase of $3.13 per month.

The price hikes seem to be an annual occurance, and are likely to continue.

"You are going to see significant rate increases in the near future," KC Water Services CFO Sean Hennessy told the Southern Communities Coalition last year.

Hennessy said that the city's efforts to comply with the Clean Water Act and other federal regulations are expensive ventures.He said the department must replace aging infructure and address overflow issues, and those costs are going to be reflected in residents' water and sewer bills."

In a statement this week, KCMO reiterated that the rate hikes are needed to fund expensive, required projects.

"Over the last several decades, water and wastewater rates have not kept pace with inflation," the statement said. "Water Services must address repairs and system replacements of aging infrastructure while at the same time implementing the Overflow Control Program which is estimated to cost $2.4 billion in 2008 dollars."

Jackson County Public Water Supply District #1 issued a statement about the rate increases:

"Kansas City informed us after the 2005 increase that we were within 1/2 to 1 percent of what they say it costs to serve wholesale customers, so we assumed that subsequent increases would be more in line with inflationary trends.

"Until 2007 the District absorbed the rate increases by Kansas City. But contrary to expectations, Kansas City has not leveled out, and in fact, the increases by Kansas City have been larger and they say that the increases in rates to wholesale customers will continue in the future.

"The District is working with its partners in the Suburban Water Coalition to find ways to hold Kansas City accountable and request a response to our inquiries for information on elements of their wholesale rate. We will continue to do so by every means available, and will continue to look for an alternative water source."

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