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Wednesday, October 20, 2021

New water, wastewater rates go into effect next week

An 8% increase to water and wastewater rates approved by Ocala City Council members in January will go into effect next week.

The city of Ocala sent a reminder to utility customers this morning regarding the rate increase, which goes into effect on Friday, October 1.

The adjustment is part of a series of rate increases each year over the next four years that will total 47% through 2025.

According to the city, the average residential user who consumes 6,000 monthly gallons of water and pays approximately $60 for their bill will see an increase in the first month of around $5. By 2025, that $60 bill should increase to around $86.

The previous water, wastewater and reclaimed water rates and charges were in effect for around two years before the city hired a consultant to determine how to best fund water resources capital improvements over the coming years. 

That consultant group determined it was unsustainable to fund capital improvement projects from reserves alone, and that the city’s water and wastewater infrastructure has ongoing needs for system repairs, upgrades, and expansions to maintain public health and safety. 

The first rate adjustment took effect on February 1, 2021. Each additional increase will go into effect on each October 1 over the next four years. 

The city says the proposed rate adjustments will provide funding for up to $27.4 million in capital project needs, as well as provide funding for staffing positions.