MOUNT VERNON — The City of Mount Vernon is raising its water rates for the first time since 2017, effective Wednesday, March 1, 2023. Water customers will first see the 5% increase reflected in the bill they receive in April.
For the minimum water user, the 5% hike will cause a monthly water bill of about $23.76 to change to $24.95. A minimum-user household uses around 3,000 gallons of water a month, which works out to two showers and 10 toilet flushes a day, plus running a dishwasher and the laundry four times each week for a month.
The city’s Utilities Commission voted to raise the rate on Dec. 7, 2022, settling on a 5% rate increase following multiple discussions at earlier meetings. The Utilities Commission consists of Safety-Service Director Rick Dzik; Public Utilities Director Aaron Reinhart; Engineer Brian Ball, PE; City Council Person Tammy Woods, and commission members Jessi Busenburg and Mike Miller.
The last time the city’s water rate was raised, in 2017, the annual inflation rate was 2.1%, whereas in 2022 the annual inflation rate was 6.5%. However, the cost of supplies needed to provide a safe water supply to residents has in many cases risen much more steeply.
For instance, lime, required in the water-treatment process for the softening of water, cost $136.50 per ton in 2017. Since then, its cost has spiked by 73%, to $236.08 per ton.
With substantial changes in the market, and more like these occurring daily, the city has found it necessary to ensure costs for services are up to date and accurate. Keeping water rates at the 2017 level would no longer cover today’s supply costs or be able to adequately fund the city’s water utility.
Access to clean water is a basic human right. The city strives to provide the best products and services in its public utilities to uphold the highest standard of public health for all community members.
The city hopes customers understand the necessity of this rate increase in our ever-changing world so it can continue to provide this service.