At last Monday’s City Council meeting, Bellevue’s City Council voted to increase the sewer fees over the next two years to offset the increased processing fees by the City of Omaha which treats the sewage for the City of Bellevue. This increase will also supplement Bellevue’s operational, maintenance and capital improvement projects. These processing fees have increased significantly over the past few years as a result of increased operational, maintenance and capital improvement costs incurred by the City of Omaha. The Cities of Papillion, LaVista and Gretna have also recently raised their rates to help offset the processing fees that are being passed down to communities that rely on Omaha’s sewer treatment facility.
The Omaha World Herald recently reported that, “the average Bellevue customer currently pays between $21.44 and $29.33 a month. If the proposed rates are approved, that would increase to $24.64 to $33.70 in 2017 and $28.07 to $38.39 in 2018.” While Bellevue citizens definitely will see a difference in their monthly bill, the City of Bellevue Waste Water Department has been taking steps over the past year to keep these costs as low as possible.
· 2017 – an increase of $1.64 for the first 2 ccf (one hundred cubic foot) and an increase of $0.39 for each additional ccf.
· 2018 – an increase of $1.75 for the first 2 ccf (one hundred cubic foot) and an increase of $0.42 for each additional ccf.
For comparison purposes a Bellevue customer using 9 ccf a month in January, 2018 would pay $38.39 a month while a City of Omaha resident using the same amount in January, 2018 would pay $54.10.
Epiphany Ramos, Wastewater Operations Manager, has provided the following information regarding the City’s sewer operations and why the increase was necessary.
The City’s sewer utility is accounted for as a self‐supporting fund. The sewer fund receives no property tax revenues and relies primarily on sewer service charges as the utility’s main source of revenue. Pursuant to contracts between Bellevue and Omaha, Bellevue is charged bulk rates for wastewater processing costs at their facilities. This expense now contributes to approximately 65% of the overall budgeted expenses, (please see below chart for reference). The underground sanitary pipeline collection system maintenance and improvement costs are also allocated through this budget. As such, the City’s sewer rates need to be set at levels adequate to fund the costs of providing wastewater service. These costs include City operating, maintenance, and infrastructure improvement costs.
The City owns and operates a wastewater pipeline collection system consisting of over 360 miles of sewer pipelines and 21 sewer pump stations.
$1.9M of estimated work is reflected in the 2017/2018 budget and focused on the Olde Towne area, some of our oldest infrastructure. This work includes: capacity upgrades, inflow and infiltration from aged and damaged materials, complete line and manhole structure replacement, and mitigation of imminent service disruption for over 1/3rd of the residents in the area.
If you have any questions regarding any of this information, please contact the Wastewater Department at 402-293-3136 or you can reach Epiphany Ramos by email at firstname.lastname@example.org