The Hailey City Council voted Monday to approve a 10 percent increase to wastewater user fees and a 9 percent increase to metered water user fees.
The city is required to hold a public hearing when raising fees more than 5 percent, and only after two public notices about the proposed change.
In addition, wastewater connection fees will increase 4.8 percent, from $2,858 to $2,994, and potable water connection fees will increase 3.5 percent, from $4,432 to $4,586.
A city memo states that the current wastewater fee has not been increased since 2014, “while the cost of operation has gone up.” The current water fee schedule has been in place since 2015.
“We have to cover our costs and keep our workforce,” City Treasurer Becky Stokes said in an interview.
Public Works Department Director Brian Yeager said the fee in-creases would also help the city retain its bond compliance, which requires it to retain 125 percent of its expected operation costs in its budgets for wastewater and water systems.
“We watch each year to be sure that we don’t fall out of compliance with our bond requirements,” Stokes said. “Or that would negatively affect our bond rating down the road.”
Yeager said any reduction in water use from conservation efforts, conversion of potable water demand to other sources (from surface to wells sources) or as a result of higher precipitation and resulting decrease in demand would result in increased water fees.
“However, individuals could still reduce consumption and save money by going to a lower tiered rate,” he said.