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City manager to recommend immediate 7.5 percent water rate increase and 10 percent sewer rate hike

City Manager Robert Layton will recommend that the city hike its water and sewer rates by combined 17.5 percent this year, 16 percent in 2011 and smaller increases every year through 2018.

That's based on recommendations by HDR Engineering, Inc, which proposed slowing down the city's $550 million aquifer recharge project to put off about $35.8 million in expenses. The suggested increases would also require the city to put off about $2.6 million a year in water and sewer improvement projects.

The actual water hike will be decided by the city council, most likely on June 15. The hike would be effective July 1.

HDR also suggested that industries use reclaim water, the city rely more on water from Cheney Reservoir and consider using reserve osmosis to purify high water flows on the Arkansas River. (more…)