The Falls Church City Council tonight voted to move along a resolution for the first increase in its water user fees in six years, plans that would increase the quarterly billings to the average customer in the range of $2.04 to $4.59, depending on usage. The rate will rise from $3.03 per 1,000 gallons to $3.27 in the coming fiscal year, and by eight percent annually for the next two fiscal years after that, and then by three percent the following two. The rates will be the same for the City water system’s 88 percent of total 33,756 users outside the City, and 12 percent inside.
The plan for spreading out rate increases to cover the last five years’ $34 million in infrastructure improvements, coming needs for $3 million in capital improvement expenditures in FY 12 followed by $5-7 million following three years, and projected three percent annual inflation costs, was prepared by a consulting team led by Ed Donahue. City Manager Wyatt Shields noted tonight the rate increase is being proposed against a three-year freeze in employee pay and comes with the endorsement of the City’s Public Utilities Commission.
The Council tonight voted to refer the measure to the Planning Commission for a recommendation with hopes it can vote on the matter on April 11. The biggest portions of the current $17,857,554 operating and maintenance budget of the system are $10.1 million for the cost of the water used in the syetem and $2.6 million for its distribution.