City Council Approves Utility Rate Increase

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Posted Tue, Mar 9, 2010

LAKEWOOD, COLO. — City Council met at 7 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 22, and approved a rate increase for water and sewer utilities. This will be the first rate increase for sewer utilities made by Lakewood in 20 years. The increase of rates does not affect the entirety of Lakewood, but just a part of the Northeast section of the city, said Mayor Bob Murphy.

Lakewood, which does not treat any of its own water, has decided to increase charges for water and sewer utilities for the first time since 1989. The city buys its water from Denver, and the new increase is a result of Lakewood’s rising costs to purchase water.

Lakewood City Engineer, Anne Heine explained that the water rate increase would only affect approximately 700 customers. The sewer charge increase would affect about 7,000 customers.

Based on a study done by the Anne Heine and her department, the average single family home would see its bimonthly water bill increase from $62 to $68. This is the result of an 12.7 percent increase in what Denver charges Lakewood for water.

These estimated rate increases are not definitive. They are based on the approximated water usage of a single family. Heine said that the quantity they have used for these sample rate increases is a usage of 12,000 gallons of water every two months.

Lakewood also sends all of its wastewater to Metro Wastewater Reclamation District in Denver. Metro Wastewater is one of 19 service providers for the city of Lakewood.

Heine said that based on the 11.8 percent increase in cost to the city for sending waste to Metro Wastewater, she and her department expect that the average bill per single family will rise from about $30 to $33.50.

“This is the time where a government ought to be decreasing its costs not increasing them,” said Lakewood resident Robert Gordon addressing the council.

Council member Adam Paul said, “unfortunately utilities are going to continue to increase.”

Heine added that there should be expected, “increases across the board.”

The Lakewood City Council passed both of the proposed rate increases with a unanimous vote of nine to zero.

The council also passed an ordinance allowing the city to acquire property in order to expand, and create new sidewalks. Ordinance 0-2010-2, allows Lakewood to enter to negotiations with property owners. The ordinance passed unanimously.

Another topic that was brought up at the meeting was the census. Mayor Murphy said that, “its vitally important to both you and your community.”

The Mayor also unveiled the Lakewood Ledger — the city’s new transparency website. Anyone from the community can now have free access to city spending records.

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