Water Bills to Increase in City of Eau Claire

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In a time when money is already tight, people living in the City of Eau Claire are facing even tighter budgets, as their water utility bills will be going up.

The 11 percent increase will take effect in May.

Finance Director Rebecca Noland says the cost of operation for the city's water treatment facilities has risen considerably over the past few years, but people we spoke to on the street are still not happy their bills will be going up as well.

"I don't like it,” says Don Peterson of Eau Claire. “I'm already paying too much as it is. Pay $83 every 3 months, and I'm the only person living there."

Peterson isn't the only person in Eau Claire who feels the money they pay for water utilities is going down the drain.

However, City Finance Director Rebecca Noland says the 11 percent rate increase is necessary.

"We've had some significant increases over the past few years. Our cost of supplies for the treatment have gone up dramatically and some of our chemicals we've seen a 300 percent increase,” says Noland.

Noland says the bill for the average user, or 2500 cubic feet of water, would be $54.73 every quarter.

"The water rate increase is about equivalent to $1.70 a month increase in the bill. Again, this is over a 3 month period of time,” says Noland.

In comparison to other cities in Wisconsin, Noland says Eau Claire's rate is in the middle of the pack.

Yet, taxpayers still feel any increase is too high.

"I guess at that point they have to pass it on to us and to the consumers, so that will effect our budget, even the little bit,” says Christy Witting of Eau Claire.

11 percent is just for the residential rate. Commercial properties will see an increase between 12 and 13 percent, depending on the size of the building.

The Eau Claire City Council expects to approve the increase at their meeting in late April. The increase would take a effect May 1st.

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