Revised sewer rates headed for vote

Revised sewer rates headed for vote

By Erin Golden October 20, 2012 8:07 am Comments

The first time around, the city’s plan for funding its $2 billion-plus sewer overhaul didn’t sit well with the people expected to pay the biggest part of the bill.

Some of the 19 biggest industrial users, responsible for a combined five percent of the bill, said the soaring rates could force them to lay off workers or leave Omaha. But after meeting with a mediator, the Save Omaha Jobs coalition, the city of Omaha and the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce came up with a plan — and so far, it seems to be moving forward without much argument.

The Omaha City Council will take comments in a public hearing on Tuesday.

The new proposal lumps the big industrial users in with the 13,000 or so other commercial accounts in the city. Each has a rate that’s calculated in part based on the size of the water meter associated with the account.

Neither the city nor Save Omaha Jobs has a number for the savings coming for the big industrial users. But Marty Grate, the city’s environmental services manager, said it’s significant. Some of those biggest users, once looking at bills that would increase by hundreds of thousands of dollars, are now looking at tens of thousands of dollars.

Smaller users, meanwhile, will likely see their bills go up by something like $5, $10, or, in some cases, up to $50 per month.