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Baxter proposes higher water, sewer fees for 2022

The proposed rate increases will be included in the 2022 budget, which the city council plans to approve at its next meeting Dec. 21.

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Baxter City Hall just off Memorywood Drive. Renee Richardson / Brainerd Dispatch

BAXTER — Baxter residents will likely see an increase in their water, sewer and stormwater fees in 2022.

City council members heard from Finance Director Jeremy Vacinek Dec. 7 about proposed 2022 rates for the city’s enterprise fund, which includes the water, sewer and stormwater operations funds.

A 5.2% increase is proposed for the water fund, meaning a consumption rate adjustment from $3.08 to $3.24 per thousand gallons. Base fees for residential customers under the proposed rates will move from $12.09 to $12.72 per month, and from $29.59 to $31.14 per month for commercial customers.

“That kind of equates a little bit to what we’re seeing right now and the current inflation from October of 2020 to October 2021,” Vacinek said. “It’s currently running at about 6.2%, with the water fund just kind of taking a little bit more of a longer term approach, as we’re sifting through some of those water treatment plant repairs related to the filter, including whether insurance is going to cover a portion of that cost or not.”

A 1.8% increase is proposed for the sewer operations fund, with a consumption rate adjustment from $3.88 to $3.95 per thousand gallons. Base fees for residential customers under the proposed rates will move from $14.45 to $14.71 per month, and from $29.07 to $29.60 per month for commercial customers.

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For the stormwater operations fund, a 15% increase is proposed. That means a change from $0.0172 to $0.0198 annually per square foot for commercial accounts and from $41.52 to $47.76 annually for residential accounts.

“One of the reasons for that little bit larger increase in the stormwater fund is that our operating expenses right now, excluding depreciation, are increasing about 14.4% projected for this year,” Vacinek said.

These proposed rate increases will be included in the 2022 budget, which the city council plans to approve at its next meeting Dec. 21.

THERESA BOURKE may be reached at theresa.bourke@brainerddispatch.com or 218-855-5860. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/DispatchTheresa .

Related Topics: GOVERNMENT AND POLITICSBAXTER
Theresa Bourke started working at the Dispatch in July 2018, covering Brainerd city government and area education, including Brainerd Public Schools and Central Lakes College.
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