Preliminary estimates indicate a serious rate hike in Sturtevant sewer bills if trustees move from a flat-rate charge to bills based on flow, or usage.

The current flat rate is $138 per quarter, or $4.14 per 100 cubic feet. A few weeks ago, a resident asked the Storm Water & Wastewater Committee to look into changing how residents are charged for sewer services, and board members discussed the issue Tuesday at the continual committee meeting.

Village Engineer/DPW Director Jeff Seitz ran figures based on moving every customer – residential and commercial – to a usage-based bill. Because changing the way billing is handled, trustees would need to hire a new full-time employee and have meter information fed to them from the city resulting in a new rate of $8.06 per 100 cubic feet, about double what residents currently pay.

Trustee John Johnson put together some figures based on changing just the residential rates, which would jack up sewer rates based on usage to $12.38 per 100 cubic feet, triple what residents pay now.

“I only did residential because rates for commercial customers are already so high we’ll drive out businesses that are already at the breaking point,” he explained.

The numbers surprised board members, including committee chair Chris Wright.

“The estimates show rates going up for two-thirds of the village in the best case,” he said after the meeting. “I think everybody was surprised.”

Trustee Chris Larsen certainly was.

“Charging for flow looks like it goes opposite what everyone thought,” he added. “This goes against what I thought we’d see.”

Still, Seitz cautioned everyone to take the numbers with a grain of salt until or unless the village commissions a full rate study, which could cost upwards of $20,000. When board members appeared to balk at the cost of the study, he encouraged everyone to just sit with the information and re-address the issue at the next committee meeting.

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