Silver Lake considering sewer fee increase

money2-mf-mensaticSilver Lake trustees are considering increasing the sewer service fee based on the advice of their consultant.

Jeffrey A. Seitz, chief operations officer for Crispell-Snyder in Lake Geneva, presented a study to the board Wednesday night that culminated in recommending a $14 per quarter increase in the fee paid by a single user equivalent, which is represented by a typical residential user of the village sewer system. Some businesses and multifamily residential properties are assessed multiple user equivalent units. For example, Riverview School counts as 41 user equivalents. Overall the village has 1,137 user equivalents.

The current quarterly sewer charge is $125 per user equivalent. The Crispell-Snyder study recommended a new quarterly fee of $139.28. That’s about an 11 percent increase. The fee was last increased in 2005, Seitz said.

Trustee Ann Augustin asked about the impact of setting aside a sewer fee increase for another year, given high employment and a still struggling economy.

“I hate to say to people who are out of work, ‘Hey, here’s another $14 by four…'” Augustin said. “I’m opposed to raising it right now…”

But most other trustees felt the increase — the first in four years — was a hard, but justified decision. That was reinforced — even for Augustin — when Seitz explained that deferring an increase this year would put the sewer fund about $60,000 further behind anticipated revenues. The budget with the increase already projects an infusion of $133,000 from reserves.

“If we keep putting it off, we’re going to be getting behind the eight ball,” said Trustee Chris Willkomm.

Faced with the deficit, Augustin seemed to relent.

“That makes sense,” Augustin said of enacting the fee to keep the deficit lower.

As a possible safeguard against large single year increases in the future, Seitz recommended small annual increases rather than no increase for several years, which will then require a large periodic increase.

The sewer utliity’s main increased cost over recent years has been energy, Seitz said.

The board only discussed the increase and did not act on a new sewer fee. It may do that as early as the next board meeting in July, President Roger Johnson said.


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