Water and sewer rates in Harrisburg are set to increase more than 7 percent next year, as Capital Region Water passed its 2018 budget last night.
The CRW board unanimously passed the spending plan, which will raise drinking water rates 7.5 percent for all city and suburban customers. Sewer rates will go up by 7.1 percent for city customers and vary for suburban customers, depending on their location.
The 2018 full-service rates for water and sewer service are $9.46 and $6.99 per 1,000 gallons, respectively. Under the new rates, an average customer who uses 4,500 gallons of water per month will pay an additional $5.56.
A few months ago, the board was faced with even higher rate increases, in excess of 10 percent, said board Chairman J. Marc Kurowski. However, CRW was able to scale those back to more reasonable levels, he said.
“Nobody’s excited with having to have rate increases, but we’ve kept them manageable,” Kurowski said last night.
CRW has raised rates for several years running. For 2017, the utility increased drinking water rates by 11.6 percent and sewer rates by 7.9 percent over 2016.
In his presentation last night, David Nowotarski, CRW’s chief financial officer, said the rate increases were needed, in part, to pay for ongoing capital upgrades to water and sewer infrastructure.
For 2018, CRW expects to spend about $8.9 million for water system upgrades and about $33 million for sewer projects. CRW has several major initiatives in place to repair and upgrade the city’s aged water and sewer infrastructure.
“Capital Region Water is continuing on the path of making critical investments to our infrastructure that were ignored for decades,” Kurowski said in a statement today. “We don’t take rate increases lightly, and we’ve made tough decisions to keep the rate increases below original projections, but these long overdue investments in our aging infrastructure will go a long way toward preventing service interruptions and higher costs of system failures.”
This was first board meeting following the departure of former CEO Shannon Gority, who left CRW effective two weeks ago. CRW expects to launch a search for a new chief executive, according to Kurowski.