December 21, 2011

Watford residents to see higher water, sewer and garbage rates

By Kate Ruggles
Farmer Staff Writer

Starting Jan. 1, 2012, residents and business owners will see rate increases for all of their city utility charges.
Justin Voll, Public Works chairperson for the City of Watford City, states that some of the reasons for these increases have to do with the fact that the Public Works Department should be self-sustaining, meaning that the money coming in for these services should completely pay for them.
“We need to keep pace with inflation, and there is a huge need within the city to expand the Public Works Department,” states Voll.
And none of that can be done without a rate increase.
So what expansion plans are in store for the City of Watford City?
According to Justin Smith, superintendent of Watford City’s Public Works Department, the city has many ongoing projects as well as expansion plans on the horizon for next year.
“We are near completion of the infrastructure expansion to the west of town. We are also in the process of completing the addition of a water, sewer and lift station to the south of town, and another sewer main expansion in the north part of town leading to the lagoons,” states Smith.
This year, the Public Works Department has also been busy staying on top of an increased garbage pick up demand.
“It has been an ongoing effort to keep the pick up schedule adequate for the amount of garbage businesses have been dealing with,” states Smith.
One thing the Public Works Department has done to help was to hire another garbage worker.
According to Voll, there used to be two garbage men, and after their route was complete, they had extra time to help with other Public Works projects.
“Now they are picking up more and more and there is no extra time. The guys only have time to do their routes and nothing else,” states Voll.
Slated for next year, according to Smith, is another water and sewer expansion south of Watford City to the substation, east to Power Fuels, and the addition of a sewer force main looping around the west and north side of the city.
In addition, the Watford City Public Works Department plans to add an aeration pond to the lagoon and perform much needed updates to and maintenance on Watford City’s already existing infrastructure.
Finally, the city will be awaiting a new, higher capacity, garbage truck.
“Hopefully, with a higher capacity truck, we can make fewer trips to the landfill, giving the men extra time to pick up trash and complete their routes,” Smith states.
On Jan. 1, 2012, residents and business owners will see these utility rate changes take place.
The water usage base rate will stay the same at $19.60 per month, but the unit charge will go up three percent from $1.58 per 1,000 gallons of water to $1.63 per 1,000 gallons used.
Commercial customers who use Watford City as their water salesman will see a 42 percent change, with rates increasing from $17.50 per 1,000 gallons to $25.00 per 1,000 gallons and the barrel rate increasing from 74 cents to $1.05 per barrel.
The minimum monthly fee for residential sewer usage will rise from $17.19 to $18.57, and the unit charge will go from $0.72 per 1,000 gallons to $0.79 per 1,000 gallons used.
Businesses will see an additional increase for water usage over 10,600 gallons from $0.83 per 1,000 gallons to $1.00 per 1,000 gallons.
Hook-up fees for new connections have also gone up to $300 for a one-inch water service line and $1,000 for a two-inch water service line. This is up from last year’s rates of $250 and $500.
The city’s lagoon disposal fee has gone up from $26 per 1,000 gallons to $50 per 1,000 gallons, a 92 percent increase.
Finally, garbage pick up charges have risen two percent for residential customers and 10 percent for businesses.