City water, sewer rates to go upPublished 11:45am Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Albert Lea residents will see a 12 percent increase in water rates in 2013 under the fees approved Monday by the Albert Lea City Council.
City Manager Chad Adams said for the average home, this will equal an additional $24 a year.
Sewer rates are also expected to increase about 2 percent for residential users.
Adams said the city’s contract finance director this year conducted a study of water and sewer rates, looking at a 10-year plan to stabilize rates. He said the water fund balance is low, and there are many water needs in the city, including new or updated water towers and water lines that need to be replaced.
“We’re trying to create a manageable plan that stabilizes us into the future,” he said.
The plan calls for similar residential increases in 2014 and 2015.
For commercial users and industrial users, there will be an about 10 to 12 percent water rate increase in 2013 and an 2 to 3 percent sewer rate increase.
In other action, the City Council:
• Renewed a 15-year franchise agreement with Charter Communications.
The franchise will not be exclusive, which means that another company at any time will have the opportunity to also start a cable-television franchise.
The agreement includes the possibility for the city to require a fee per subscriber to raise money for future equipment and programming needed to broadcast meetings live from Council Chambers at City Hall.
The franchise also requires Charter to make three cable channels for community programming and requires at least 80 programmed channels. The company will be required to provide free connections and basic services to 15 sites including City Hall.
In return, the city grants Charter permission to use rights-of-way for reconstructing and maintaining its cables. Charter will pay the city 5 percent of its gross revenues as its franchise fee.
• Had the first reading for a change in zoning at the Albert Lea Airport.
• Approved the 2013-17 Capital Improvement Plan.
Projects included for 2013 total almost $10 million, including the City Center’s heating and ventilation system, the Broadway Avenue streetscape, street overlay and reconstruction projects and utility system improvements, to name a few.