Asheville water rates to rise slightly

Press release from the city of Asheville:

Asheville water bills went down in the past year following discontinuation of a capital fee on customers’ combined utility statement on July 1, 2020. At the same time, the City of Asheville did not raise water rates last year.

With the new Fiscal Year 2021-2022 that begins July 1, Asheville water customers will see a slight increase, though their combined utility statements will still be lower than before — when the capital fee was being collected. At their May 11 meeting, Asheville City Council adopted Water Resources fees and charges for the new fiscal year.

The average residential customer will pay about $3 a month more than what they are paying now, or $6 per every two-month pay period. While the new rate goes into effect July 1, it will not show up in bills until September.

For example, a customer who paid $65.38 in FY 2019-2020, then paid $56.86 in FY 2020-2021, will pay $63.29 in FY 2021-2022 under the new rate. It is still lower than two years ago.

“Asheville’s rate is still slightly below average compared to other utilities in the State surveyed with a median household income of between $45,000 and $50,000,” said Water Resources Director David Melton. “With our pristine and highly protected water source we think this is a great value and asset for our community.”

Water Resources is an enterprise fund, meaning that services are supported by fees charged for the water used rather than being taxpayer supported. The department does not receive any funding from the City’s General Fund. The City discontinued collection of the capital fee in 2020 following settlement of a class action lawsuit. This did lead to a decline in revenue, however. The FY2021-2022 rate realignment is designed to minimize the financial burden on customers by spreading revenue recovery over time.

About 90% of Asheville’s water customers are residential, 8.5% are commercial with manufacturing, irrigation and wholesale customers making up the rest of the customer base. All customers pay based on usage.

To read the staff report to Council about the Water fees and charges, visit this link.

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