The overall municipal wastewater charge to the 109 communities served by the Metropolitan Council’s regional wastewater collection and treatment system will go up 3.5% in 2019. The sewer availability charge, paid by properties hooking up to the system for the first time or expanding their demand on the system, will stay flat for the fifth year in a row.
On July 25, the Council approved the 2019 wastewater rates and charges, providing communities adequate time to set their 2019 budgets. The regional wastewater system is funded by user fees; no tax dollars are involved.
The municipal wastewater charge is a wholesale charge to each community, based on that community’s metered share of the overall flow into the regional system. Communities, in turn, calculate their local costs and charge their residents accordingly.
Data from the National Association of Clean Water Agencies show that residents in the Twin Cities metro region pay between 35% and 40% less for their wastewater services than residents of other metro areas with similarly-sized regional systems.
For the Council’s industrial customers, the industrial strength charge and industrial discharge permit fee will go up 3.4% and 3.5%, respectively.
MCES engages customers during rate-setting process
The Council's Environmental Services division (MCES) continues to be transparent in its rate-setting. In spring 2018, MCES held three workshops for industrial customers, including a separate workshop for liquid waste haulers. These workshops were attended by 140 industrial customers.
“We are emphasizing more listening and less presenting,” explained Ned Smith, Director of Finance and Revenue for MCES. “We had a great dialogue that led to a rethinking of how we charge SAC to industrial customers.”
Likewise, for municipal customers, MCES held two open houses in May and June that gave communities the opportunity to talk with more than a dozen staff experts on topics such as the municipal wastewater charge and each community’s allocation, SAC, inflow and infiltration, wastewater reuse and others.
“We got great feedback from communities about the information we shared,” Smith said. “Attendees said the handouts will help them brief other city officials and staff.”