Quarterly Billing Will Remain; Summer Sewer Usage Charge May Change

As was recently reported in the Mountain Mail, staff spoke to the City Council during the May 15 work session about the pros and cons of a switch from quarterly to monthly utility billing. This topic has been dropped due to a lack of direction from Council to pursue the change.

The second topic, also discussed at the work session, was a suggested change in the methodology for summer sewer billings. An ordinance to effect this change will be brought forward to the Council for their further consideration during June.

Currently, the usage is based on an average of the water meter readings for the December and March billings, which encompasses water use for the months of October through March. The assumption behind this methodology is that customers are watering outside lawns and gardens during the summer and that water is not flowing through the sewer system. By using “winter” water use, the City’s intention is to only bill customers only for indoor water use. However, many residents are still watering outside into October or even November. By using only the first quarter billing cycle, staff believes the usage would better represent only the indoor water use, which exits the residence through the sewer system.

After consulting with our software company’s technical support department, staff concluded it would be possible to use the residential first quarter water usage in calculating summer sewer usage.  Staff is still considering options for billing sewer usage when the first quarter registers no water usage.

Although most of the administrative detail and actual rates were removed from the Municipal Code in the 2011 repeal and reenactment of Chapter 13, the new Section 13-3-30 specifies the methodology for seasonal wastewater volume charges. City Council would be required to pass an ordinance to change the billing methodology. The earliest this change could be made effective is the end of July.