Northglenn city councilors voted unanimously to increase water and wastewater rates at their Nov. 14 City Council meeting.
The increase is part of a long-term plan for the city to be able to meet the funding and service requirements of water operations.
In 2017, the city contracted Stantec Consulting to do a rate study.
“The study determined that to meet the funding and service requirements of water and wastewater operations, revenue collections would need to increase approximately 3.6% to 6.7% annually in each of the subsequent 10 years beginning in 2018,” the agenda read.
Future projects are the main drivers of the increase. From 2025 to 2027, there will be $37 million needed in repairs and another $37 million from 2028 to 2031.
Rates will slowly increase between Jan. 1, 2023 and Jan. 1, 2027. The first 3,000 gallons will go from $4.24 to $4.59; 3,000 to 10,000 gallons will increase from $5.31 to $5.75; 10,000 gallons to 20,000 gallons will jump from $6.64 to $7.19; and over $20,000 gallons will creep up from $9.96 to $10.78.
City Councilor Rich Kondo asked if there were any rhyme or reason to establishing the tiers. Director of Finance Jason Loveland said they were established a long time ago to encourage conservation.
The average winter consumption for Northglenn residents is about 5,000 gallons, which will go from costing $66.76 in 2022 to $69.09 in 2023.
Summer months are higher: the average usage is 15,000 gallons. The price tag will increase from $125.36 to $128.84.
Rates here and there
Northglenn isn’t alone in its rate increase. Neighboring cities Westminster and Thornton also increased rates earlier this year, both citing inflation as the main reason.
During a Westminster study session on Sept. 26, Brian Donahue, business operations administrator, said the water utility has seen an increase in cost due to a 19.7% increase in inflation.
That’s similar to the situation in Thornton. Finance Director Kim Newhart said the cost of water operations has increased by 18% over 2022 due to inflation and they are battling another obstacle.
Newhart said their increase is before any potentially needed increase to address the new EPA-issued health advisory regarding PFAS would cost $80 million in improvements to the system.
The EPA set the new advisory on June 15 at 0.0004 parts per trillion for PFOA and 0.02 parts per trillion for PFOS.
In May 2022, the Thornton Water Treatment Plant measured 7.1 parts per trillion for PFOA and 3.5 parts per trillion for PFOS. The Wes Brown Water Treatment Plant saw 5.4 parts per trillion for PFOA and 2.0 parts per trillion for PFOS.
Northglenn and Westminster have not measured PFAS in their drinking water which is above the advisory, according to Northglenn City Spokesperson Diana Wilson and Westminster City Spokesperson Andy Le.