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The Lake News Online
  • Sunrise Beach Trustees revise user fees

  • After going back to the drawing board on planned user fee increases, the Sunrise Beach Board of Trustees plans to hold another public hearing on the revised draft rates.
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  • After going back to the drawing board on planned user fee increases, the Sunrise Beach Board of Trustees plans to hold another public hearing on the revised draft rates.
    The hearing will be held at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 11 at the Sunrise Beach Fire Protection District Administration building on Porter Mill Spring Rd. — next door to City Hall.
    Under the new proposal, both residential and commercial users will see an approximately 15 percent increase in the base rate but with less gallons of water per month included in the base for residents than the current setup and more gallons in the base for businesses than now.
    Residential and commercial users are both currently paying a $39 per month base with 5,000 gallons included for residential customers and 1,000 gallons for commercial customers.
    Under the new proposed rate structure, residential users would pay $45 a month for the first 4,000 gallons. Commercial users would receive 2,000 gallons for $45.
    The charge for water usage over the base for both types would rise from $8.23 per 1,000 gallons to $10.50 per 1,000 gallons.
    At a hearing June 9, local business people expressed deep concern about the then-proposed 51 and 76 percent increases in the base rate and overage rate respectively for commercial users.
    In comparison, residential would have seen a 13 percent raise in their base use and no increase in the overage rate.
    While residential users rarely go over 5,000 gallons per month, it is more common for businesses to go over 1,000, though it does vary depending on the type of business.
    Restaurants - which are some of the city's biggest revenue contributors through sales tax - were particularly noted to be some of the more intensive users on the system that could be hurt by big rate increases.
    The village is looking to raise rates after its loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development for phase one and two of the water system went from interest-only payments to payments of interest and principal on March 1. Monthly payments have gone from $6,023 a month to $10,823 - an increase of $57,492 per year.
    It is the increase in debt payments for the capital expense of building the infrastructure that have necessitated a rate increase, trustees say.
    The new rates are intended to increase revenue to cover most of that cost. The board also anticipates kicking in some funds from the city's 1/2-cent capital improvement sale tax fund to make the payments.
    With the water system and under-construction sewer system initially focused on the benefit to existing businesses and economic development - rather than residents, a majority of whom on the Highway 5 corridor meet low to moderate income levels and/or are on a fixed income - the brunt of financing has typically been placed on the commercial side as the projects developed.
    Page 2 of 2 - However there are 155 residential meters on the water system and only 41 commercial meters.

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