MISSOULA — Missoula Mayor John Engen says a proposed hike in the city's utility rates will not help pay for future upgrades and improvements, but also help Missoula meet more stringent environmental guidelines in the future.
The city's proposed rate schedule would ramp up what it charges for all three utilities over the next three years. Wastewater charges would see the most aggressive increase, with a 27-percent jump by 2024. That pushes the average residential utility bill to well past $70 a month by the end of the climb.
The city is also proposing an increase in commercial utility fees, where the average varies considerably depending on the type, and size of business. But the matrix of the increase matches the amounts of the proposed hike in residential fees.
The city is also attempting to "build in" revenues to meet the more stringent environmental permits and costs for building new utility facilities, which is becoming more of an issue in Montana.
"In terms of wastewater, you know the investment we're making today ensures that will meet new permit standards over time," Engen explained. "And you'll find communities in Montana that are really gonna be up against a wall in terms of how they invest in capital to meet those new permit requirements." :22
The Missoula City Council has a public hearing on the rate increases scheduled for Monday, Dec. 6. Additional information is available on the Engage Missoula website.