Water, sewer rate hikes approved by aldermen

City of Merrill residents will see increases in their water and sewer bills after the Merrill Common Council voted last Tuesday to approve hikes in both rates.

The Council voted to approve a 14 percent increase in the water rate paid by users of the city water system and an even sharper 41.5 percent initial increase in the sewer rate for next year with two percent increases each year for the next five after that.

The increases are intended to more fairly spread the cost of maintaining both systems from the tax base to user fees. The increases will mean that some entities, such as tax exempt groups and churches, will have to also share more in the costs of maintaining the systems with regular taxpayers.

City Administrator Tony Chladek told the Council that even with the 14 percent increase in the water rate, which translates into a $7.69 quarterly raise for the typical user, Merrill still has lower rates than 30 other communities in the area of comparable??¢??????¨

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