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The Story Behind the City of Flagstaff’s Massive 2024 Water & Sewer Fee Hikes

If you have not yet heard, every water and sewer bill in Flagstaff is set to double in five years. That’s right. Get ready to pay twice as much as you do today for turning on your faucet and flushing your toilet. Flagstaff Mayor & Council have given their official head-nod that they will raise the city’s water and sewer fees at June 2024 Council meetings just before the scheduled summer Council break. Both water and sewer line items on your City water bill under the new fee structure will increase 15% per year for 5 years beginning September 1, 2024, and then 5% in perpetuity.

The Chamber of Commerce has met with city Water Services Division staff repeatedly throughout the last 18 months, and met with the Mayor, Councilmembers & City Manager and conversed with the City Treasurer about the city’s water and sewer financing plan included in the city’s rate hikes or “rate restructuring” as city staff call the package. We have continuously stressed concern about the massive fee increases for several reasons.

  • Consistent and persistently high month-over-month inflation continues to put added stress on local residents and businesses.
  • Core inflation numbers have continued to outpace inflation (essentials including groceries, rent and insurance).
  • The Mayor & Council just passed the largest stormwater fee increase (also on your water bill) in the utility’s history effective April 1, 2023, and those rates continue to hike in coming years.

Our new city water and services director, Shannon Jones, was hired from Santa Fe, NM in early 2023. A comparable city to Flagstaff, Santa Fe generates $38M annually in water revenue from rate payers while Flagstaff rate payers only generate half that amount annually - $19M.

Mr. Jones contends the city of Flagstaff has an aging water and sewer system and many needed projects have been put off in recent years by past Councils and staff for lack of adequate funding. Those project needs total nearly $200M in new capital needs for water and over $130M in new sewer capital needs in the next ten years.

In addition to the rate hikes, the rate restructure plan about to be adopted by Mayor and Council proposed capacity fee hikes, or higher fees on new water hook-ups. Under consideration are rates that take new residential water meters for new housing from $5,728 to $21,603 and new commercial water meters from $30,530 to over $115,000. The newly inflated costs for new residential and

commercial meters in the city will be passed on to consumers in higher housing and higher product service costs at point of sale. Sewer capacity fees are also set to increase.

To learn more about how your water and sewer bill will be impacted, please visit a new city rate calculator provided by the City of Flagstaff at this link here – City Water Rate Calculator. You can also email Mayor and Council at

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