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Water Rate Hikes Are Becoming a “Hardship”

Colchester Mayor Danny Bice

The mayor of Colchester says the rise in water rates from the city's supplier, Macomb, is becoming a “hardship” for residents.

Macomb will raise the water rates for Colchester 5% effective August 1.

Mayor Danny Bice says water rates have skyrocketed since the city started receiving its water from Macomb about nine years ago.

He says, “Sooner or later there has to be a stopping point on the water increase. Because it's (gone) up 150% since we hooked on (to Macomb service).”

Macomb City Administrator Dean Torreson says the water rates have risen 125.5% since 2002. Those hikes have been passed along to Colchester.

Bice admits Colchester has few other options for its water supply.

The city charges a base rate of $35 for the first 2,000 gallons of water. Rates for in-town customers would rise 40-cents to $8.28 per 1,000 gallons beyond the base rate. The rate for out-of-town customers would rise 61-cents to $12.69 per 1,000 gallons beyond the base rate.

Bice says residents are also facing rising sewer bills as the city prepares for a sewer system upgrade that will cost between $2 million and $4 million. That project is necessary to bring the city into compliance with federal EPA regulations.

Colchester will add a $4 per month surcharge to sewer bills on June 1. Bice says it could be the first of several raises in sewer sewer charges over the next few years to pay for the sewer upgrades.