MENOMINEE — The Menominee Water and Wastewater Utility Board Thursday heard some comments about the ongoing water and sewer rate study from Jeff Sjoquist of Coleman Engineering.

“There’s been lost of iterations of the numbers going on,” Sjoquist said. “This water/sewer rate study started out with a particular focus and we thought it was going to go really smooth, but the more we got into it, the more it shifts and you get a lot of complicated issues.”

Some of the issues Sjoquist mentioned were the city’s planned capital improvement projects, how much money in grants or principal forgiveness the city could potentially receive and which years certain projects would be done. “It gets difficult to put into a water rate (projection) for the next five years. There’s a lot of unknowns there,” he said.

He said that the study is still ongoing; there are still some issues that Coleman’s team is working on.

“These are very dynamic numbers, we’re constantly refining them. We’re kind of going through the same budget process the city is going through. We want to be sure the report is consistent with the city’s budget,” Sjoquist said, “Rates are very important to everybody. We need to be very careful and very confident with our projections. They are projections, educated guesses, and we want to be consistent with what’s going on in the city.”

Sjoquist said the report will be written in such a way that it shows the city’s current operations without factoring in capital improvement projects and seeing what the city would need to do with the water and sewer rates. “There was a study done in 2014, and there’s kind of been a 2 percent increase every year,” he said, “Some things grew less than 2 percent, others grew more. We’re getting those numbers together where adjustments need to be made to get you up to what you need to do to operate the way you are now.”

He said, after providing those adjustments, the report would give the city some options for modifying the rate as capital improvement projects are added. “So a $1 million job, based on how many customers and how much water and sewer they use, you can expect a rate increase of this much,” Sjoquist explained.

“On the sewer side, it seems like we could possibly decrease the fixed charges a little bit,” he said, “The expenses that we’ve seen on those fixed charges have been running less that that 2 percent every year. We’re not done with the numbers yet, but we could possibly do that. However, on the commodity charges side for sewer, there’s a number of items running over the 2 percent. So possibly a decrease on the fixed side but an increase on the commodity side.”

He also said, when looking at the water rates, this trend seemed to be the exact opposite of the sewer rates; fixed charges for water were running over the 2 percent increase and commodity charges were under. Sjoquist said that the full report would be presented to the board at next month’s meeting, which is currently scheduled for April 8.