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The City of Salida is considering a rate increase for water and sewer utilities beginning in early 2020 if approved as part of the 2020 Salida Annual Budget. City officials say the proposed increase would provide the necessary revenue to pay for the maintenance of existing infrastructure and preserve the city’s high-quality service levels for current customers.

Residents are invited by the City of Salida to provide their input and feedback as part of the 2020 Annual Budget Public Hearing to be held at the city council meeting at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 3 in the Touber Building.

The session is intended to clear up the confusion. According to a press release from the City of Salida earlier this week, “the Mountain Mail newspaper incorrectly reported the proposed rate increase amounts.”

The City of Salida responded to the inaccurate information and provided the following clarification, “The proposed changes include a water service rate increase of 3 percent and a sewer service rate increase of 4.5 percent. These are two separate increases resulting in an overall average monthly bill increase between 3.1 percent and 3.7 percent for residential customers, depending on their average monthly usage.”

The City of Salida continued, “This means that residents could expect to see an increase between $2 and $3.50 on their monthly bill. Similarly, commercial customers could expect a monthly bill increase between 3.6 percent and 3.8 percent, an increase of roughly $2 to $4 per month for smaller users, and up to $60 per month for large consumers.”

(Courtesy of the City of Salida)

Why the proposed increase? The City of Salida explains that in 2015, the city completed a comprehensive Water and Wastewater Rate Study that included a 10-year financial plan, which proposed revenue adjustments over five years.

(Courtesy of the City of Salida)

“Since the study was completed, the city has not increased water or wastewater rates as recommended in the study, and an incremental increase is necessary to maintain the system’s infrastructure. Rates have not gone up in four years, and this increase is lower than the recommended increase outlined in the 2015 study,” according to the city.

If rates do not increase, more severe or urgent rate increases may be needed in the future. To avoid an even more significant funding gap, and to fund future infrastructure needs, a rate increase is necessary now.

When compared to eight other Colorado mountain communities of similar size, the City of Salida’s water and wastewater rates are low. The base fee is the standard monthly service charge for water, and the consumption fee is the actual consumer cost based on use.

(Courtesy of the City of Salida)

City of Salida’s Treasurer Merrell Bergin issued the following statement about the PDF document released by the city explaining the utility fee increases.

“This is exactly the kind of visual messaging that we will be doing more of, starting now,” said Bergin. “We realize this is an important topic for Salida residents. We’re explaining how we got to where we are and encouraging residents to ask questions as to how they may be impacted.”

To see how this would affect your rates and for more information, the City of Salida encourages residents and business owners to click here.