MENOMINEE — Jeff Sjoquist of Coleman Engineering updated the Water and Wastewater Utility Board on their water rate study during the board’s Monday meeting.

“This report is intended to be the final draft report, pending comments from the utility board and the City Council,” he said.

According to the report, Sjoquist said that water usage has had a downward trend since 2013.

“The expenses have not been having a downward trend, so as far as rates go expenses have been increasing but use has been decreasing. The reality is that you need to consider a rate increase to keep up with your expenses,” Sjoquist said.

Again referencing the two different kinds of charges affecting the study, commodity charges and fixed charges, Sjoquist said that there’s a projected decrease in the commodity charge for water use. He said for users with 5/8-inch meters, which is the most common, the commodity charge would drop from $25.49 quarterly to $24.58.

However, the increase comes with the fixed charges. The study shows that the quarterly fixed rate would go up from $40.57 quarterly to $45.38 for the 5/8-inch meter users.

“This does get somewhat complicated; some things are increasing, some things are decreasing. It depends on how much water you use and what size meter you have,” Sjoquist said.

Looking at wastewater, the study Sjoquist provided shows an increase in the quarterly commodity charge from $26.42 up to $29.45, and a decrease in the fixed charge from $47.15 to $44.12.

“This does not include any kind of long-term capital project,” he said, “There’s various things that are breaking out there, and the city’s considering some type of a capital improvement project. That’s not really all put together yet. Soon we think there could be some things hitting this group.”

He said that he’d like to see the recommendations suggested in the report as “bare minimum” recommendations since the report as presented doesn’t include any kind of fund balancing. “It is quite possible that maybe you have a hot year and people use more water; that may create some more income and that work for fund balance. Maybe you don’t use all of your capital outlay money. I’m not saying there isn’t going to be any fund balancing, just that this report doesn’t include it,” he said, “That’s the premise behind this, there is no fluff.”

The utility board decided to send this on to the council with a recommendation to adopt the rates presented in the study for the next fiscal year, beginning July 1.