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8:54 AM Wed, Oct. 17th

Rates raised with no opposition

Public absent from Council meeting at which water rate was increased

KINGMAN - Tuesday night's City Council meeting was short, in part because of the limited items on the agenda, but also because not one Kingman resident showed up to comment during the public hearing of a proposed water rate increase.

Without comment, the Council moved to approve a 3.1-percent inflation-based increase for city water services, a move that will increase monthly bills between $1.55 and $1.73 a month, or between $18.60 and $20.76 per year based on average usage.

City Finance Director Coral Loyd said the last rate increase for water, sewer and sanitation took place in September 2005. The fall was a bad time to raise rates then, she said, because prices were so high at that time of year. "At this time of year, it's the lowest, that's why we review it at this time," she told the Council.

During budget meetings in the spring of 2006, when revenue data and utility fund projections for the upcoming year were calculated, "it was determined utility user rate increases would not be proposed or included within the budget calculation, but the inflationary adjustment of 3.1 percent ..." based on the Consumer Price Index from 2004 to 2005 "... would be scheduled for January 2007," according to documents presented to Council.

Councilman Kerry Deering, before opening the issue up to the public, wanted to reiterate that the rate increase wasn't being implemented for new construction of water systems. It is meant to keep up with the rise of operational costs due to inflation.

When he turned the issue over to the public, no one was there to protest or comment, so the Council voted unanimously to approve the hike, which will now take effect, in accordance with the Arizona Revised Statutes, Feb. 1.

As outlined in the preparatory documents given to the Council, consumers will see a $0.50 to $0.68 increase per month for water services, an additional $0.46 for customers connected to the sewer system, and a $0.59 hike in residential sanitation rates. For non-residential customers, the 3.1 percent increase will be the same, but the actual cost increase will reflect the number and size of containers and the how frequently containers are picked up each week.