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Update on the City’s New Water and Wastewater Fee Hikes

The City of Flagstaff Mayor & Council will formalize the city’s water, wastewater, and reclaimed water utility rate hikes with two public hearings on Tuesday, June 17, and Tuesday, July 2, 2024.  City staff and the city’s rate consultant had proposed a 15% per year rate hike on water, sewer, and reclaimed water over five years, followed by 5% guaranteed rate hikes in perpetuity.  The Chamber of Commerce Business Advocacy Division weighed in opposed to this new rate model, arguing the rate hikes were too steep and the impacts to local businesses and residents would be extremely painful.

After months of meetings, city staff and the consultant proposed a new rate model with reduced fee hikes of roughly 10% per year for five years.  The first rate hike will occur on September 1, 2024, with subsequent rate hikes taking effect on January 1, 2026, and beyond for five years.  The City Water Services division and consultant have presented more than $300 million in water and wastewater capital improvement, maintenance, and operational needs as justification for the fee hikes.  Reliable water delivery and wastewater systems are important for the economic growth of Flagstaff. While the reduced rate hikes will undoubtedly still be painful, the Chamber was happy to avoid the initially proposed 15% per year hikes for water and sewer utilities.

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