Water / Sewer Rates Increase

Graphic weighing costs versus sales in relation to rates

Upcoming Changes

Our objective is to adopt a balanced budget and manage a water and sewer system that breaks even.

The City of Bridgman wishes to inform you of an upcoming change to its water and sewer rates. Effective July 1, 2015, rates will be increased for each 1000 gallons of water from $2.10 to $3.56 and for 1000 gallons of wastewater treated from $4.53 to $5.83. An additional increase for wastewater treatment will take place in July 2016, raising the rate to $7.12 for each 1000 gallons used. Thereafter, annual adjustments will be made based upon the Consumer Price Index.
Typical Sewer Bill Using New Rates
Typical Water Bill Using New Rates

Reasoning for Raising Rates

In short, operational costs in the water and sewer departments have exceeded revenues for many years. To achieve a balanced budget we have supported these departments with money from the City’s General Fund, which receives most of its revenue from property taxes. Though the support is a legal use of funds it is certainly not favored because the City’s reserve, or Rainy Day fund, is shrinking. We anticipate that without water and sewer rate increases the Rainy Day fund would be completely drained within four years, leaving the City unable to handle an unforeseen cost such as a natural disaster or a loss in revenue caused by a decrease in funding from the State of Michigan.

A Necessary Increase

There are several reasons why the increases are necessary. First, the City has not raised water rates since 1987 (28 years) and sewer rates since 2006 (9 years). Rather than raise rates the City chose to absorb increases through the use of property taxes. Second, water sales have continued to decrease across the State of Michigan, including Bridgman, through water conservation and slower economic growth. When water sales go down cities must recover the lost revenues by increasing their rates to cover fixed costs. Water and sewer departments must maintain staff, equipment and be ready to meet peak demands in the summer and handle emergencies such as water main breaks. This constant readiness requires continued investment in these services. By raising our rates the City will be ready to pay for, rather than borrow, to cover the cost of repairing and replacing expensive items as they occur.

Questions Concerning Rates

The City of Bridgman is committed to continue bringing you the quality service that you have come to expect and receive. If you have any questions concerning the new rates please call us at City Hall (269) 465-5144. City Hall is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Public Hearing

Those wishing to address the Bridgman City Council may attend a public hearing on Monday, June 15, 2015 at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall, 9765 Maple Street. The purpose of the meeting is a public hearing related to the City’s new fiscal year 2016 budget, which begins on July 1 and goes through June 30, 2016. We welcome all to attend.