BRIGHTON — Residents of Brighton will see a 4-percent increase in their water and sewer bills after Feb. 1.
Brighton City Council unanimously approved the increases in a 7-0 vote during its Jan. 15 council meeting.
Residents receiving water and sewer will see an overall increase of about $3.65 per month for water, sewer and storm drainage fixed rate charges.
“We are proposing as part of this ordinance an increase in the monthly fixed charge of $2.50, going from $9.86 to $12.36 (for water). On the wastewater side, we’re looking at a fixed charge increase of $1.10, going from $7.05 to $8.15,” Utilities Director Jim Landeck said. “The fixed charge for the storm drainage fee, to cover the costs of maintaining our storm drainage systems in accordance with our storm water discharge permit, will go from $1.79 to $1.84.”
Additionally, water and sewer user fees will go up 16 cents per 1,000 gallons for residents.
The new increases would mean a family of four using a monthly average of 12,000 gallons of water and sewer would pay an estimated $6.92 per month. A family with three teens who use about 15,000 gallons a month would see an estimated increase of $7.74, and seniors who use about 3,000 gallons a month could increase an estimated $4.32.
“The impact of this, of course, will affect many families in our community that are struggling to deal with increased costs in the local economy including other utilities and charges,” he said, adding the city has implemented additional activities to offset the increases.
He said residents can take advantage of rebates for purchasing water-saving appliances, receive water conservation audits and receive a water conservation kit to try to conserve water.
Council also voted 6-1 to approve a resolution to increase a number of fees and charges for ancillary services the Utilities Department performs.
Councilwoman Lynn Baca voiced her concern of disconnection and reconnection charges being increased four times their current rates and was concerned for residents as the economy has not been kind to some families.
She also said the city needs to start paying its share of water and sewer costs instead of passing them on to the residents.
Councilwoman Cynthia Martinez echoed Baca’s concerns, saying that $5 or $10 makes a difference in some households.
The increases in fees and charges include:
— A $22.50 increase in disconnection and reconnection fees from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays, bringing the total fee to $30;
— A $33.50 increase for disconnection and reconnection fees during all other hours, bringing the total fee to $45;
— A new account fee increase of $15, bringing the total cost of service to $20;
— A $5 increase for door-hanger notification fees, bringing the total fee to $15;
— A $10 increase for water turn-off and turn-on fees for non payment, for a total fee of $40.
Several changes were also made to a number of fees and charges for water meters and the city’s fire hydrants.
Council members Wilma Rose and Kirby Wallin were excused from the meeting and were not able to cast their vote.
In other business:
— The first reading of the 2012 building and construction codes was completed, with council approving updates 7-0. Chief Building Inspector Dan Swallow said the updated codes include the fire code as well.
— Rich Gonzales with United Power presented council with a $9,367 rebate for a lighting upgrade to the city’s Recreation Center. Gonzales said the city has received $17,198 to date in rebates for lighting upgrades and has one more project that will be rebated.