5% Sewer Rate Hike for Cedar Falls Residents - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

5% Sewer Rate Hike for Cedar Falls Residents

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CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) -

This month, Cedar Falls residents will notice their utility bills increase. This is the start of five years of sewer rate hikes to pay for two multi-million dollar projects.

A few years ago, Cedar Falls Public Works Director Bruce Sorensen learned the city needs to update its wastewater treatment plant -- a project that will cost the city about $17 million. Combine that with another $7 million flood mitigation project, and Sorensen noted, "that adds up in a hurry."

The City Council voted to lessen the burden on residents by spreading out the cost over five years. Beginning August 2011, your bill will go up 5% and continue rising 5% each year through 2015. For an average home, that works out to about $13.20 a year or $1.10 each month. After five years, the average annual rate will have increased about $71.00.

"When you spread it out to a year it doesn't sound so bad," said Cedar Falls resident Marlys Miller. "But $13 is $13."

So what, exactly, is that money being spent on? Crews are constructing a new lift station near the main Public Works building -- replacing one that flooded in 2008. At the treatment plant, workers are starting an expansion and will soon add a UV light disinfection process, required by new laws.

"We didn't have a lot of choice about doing it, but we do have some options about what facilities or types of process we will build," said Sorensen.

The projects are not cheap, but they are necessary. And that's something most residents understand.

"You just get used to it because if you want to continue using the utilities, you will pay the $13," Miller noted.

Information pamphlets were sent out to every Cedar Falls resident this week. If you have any questions about your sewer bill or the water treatment plant projects, you're asked to call the Public Works Department at 273-8629 or Administrative Services at 273-8600.

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