October 7, 2021 – Village of Germantown, WI – Property owners in the Village of Germantown are learning the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin approved an 83% increase in the water rate.
It was early September 2021 when the Germantown Water Utility filed an application with the PSC to increase water rates. Village administration claimed the increase was necessary due to a 247.40 percent increase in gross plant investment and a 39.77 percent increase in operating expenses since the last water rate case was completed in 2010.
Village administrator Steve Kreklow said failing infrastructure was the crux of the issue.
“The water utility has been short of funds for infrastructure replacement for some time. I think you’re also seeing the infrastructure that was installed in the ’70s and ’80s and ’90s when the village was growing very rapidly. Much of it is now starting to near the end of its useful life and needs to be replaced,” he said.
Case in point, Germantown suffered significant water main failures last weekend on Pilgrim Road. Repairs are underway and Donges Bay Road should reopen Thursday, October 7.
As far as implementing the water rate increase, Kreklow said he will meet with staff and discuss the next step.
A story published September 9, 2021 indicated the increase would be implemented in two steps.
Step 1: the water bill for an average residential customer with a ⅝-inch or ¾-inch meter who uses 12,000 gallons of water per quarter will increase from $42.75 to $71.28, or 66.7% including the public fire protection (PFP) charge.
Step 2: Bills for the same customer will increase from $71.28 to $78.27, or 9.81%, including the PFP charge.
The customers overall bill will rise approximately 83.09%, including the PFP charge, after Step II has been implemented. The increases in Step I and Step II also include the Utility’s request to switch to a combination of municipal and direct PFP charges on customer water bills.
Questioned whether neighbors in Germantown would stop watering their lawns or filling their swimming pools, Kreklow said he didn’t think residents would change their behavior despite a higher bill.
“When you look at it it is real significant when you’re talking about $25 or $30 per month,” he said. “I don’t want to underplay that but it’s not going to be something I think really dramatically changes residents lifestyles. I’m not expecting any major changes.”
This is a working story and more details will be added when information becomes available.