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BSWSD discusses new water, sewer rates

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Proposed increases would affect commercial, residential customers

By Michael Somerby EBS STAFF

BIG SKY – On Sept. 17, the Big Sky Water and Sewer District Board of Directors met in its  Meadow Village office to discuss mountain well exploration, upgrades to the existing wastewater treatment plant and the imminent updates to rates for both water and sewer based on residential or commercial status.

While rates are increasing across all tiers, the board is adjusting tiers based on usage, and will hold a hearing for all affected payers on Oct. 22.

BSWSD is encouraging both residential and commercial ratepayers to attend the hearing at 8:30 a.m. in the BSWSD office. All affected parties will receive the proposed rate changes in the mail prior to the hearing date, separate from their Oct. 1 billing mail.

Water and sewer pay rates, set out by Advanced Engineering and Environmental Services based on its cost of services analysis, will lessen the share for residential users, but overall rates will increase for all customers.

“Were still a developing resort area, and our rates are the same for all residential and commercial users, but were at a place where were like gee should we split our rates between the categories, and there’s enough data there to suggest we do so,” said Ron Edwards, BSWSD general manager.

The categorizations and varying tier structures are intended to put the lion’s share of water usage onus on commercial users and to encourage less irrigation in summer months when water becomes increasingly scarce in the alpine setting, according to Edwards.

“By adjusting the tiers, it will build in some conservation factor and hopefully it reduces water use in the summer time,” Edwards said.

Charges will increase per thousand gallons used relative to the appropriate tier a user falls under, which is based on water usage, with new charges jumping from $2.73 to $2.98, $4.08 to $4.47, $5.45 to $6.26, and $6.82 to $8.76 per thousand gallons for each of the respective four tiers.

Additionally, the proposed fixed quarterly water charge will increase by four percent, from $50.70 to $52.74.

Proposed fixed quarterly sewer rates will increase by 10 percent for both commercial and residential users, from $80.64 to $88.71, residential and condo users will see a 10 percent increase per thousand gallons of volumetric use, from $6.55 to $7.21, and commercial volumetric charges will increase by 20 percent per thousand gallons, from $6.55 to $7.86.

The board will meet at the BSWSD office one week before the hearing, on Oct. 15 at 8:30 a.m., for a regular agenda meeting.

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