City of Bloomington Utilities Begins Process to Increase Water Rates

(BLOOMINGTON) – The City of Bloomington Utilities (CBU) has begun the process of requesting an increase in customers’ water rates in order to modernize and improve the public water utility. 

Consistent with a 2016 request from the Bloomington Common Council, CBU plans to conduct a water rate review every four years in order to stay current on the City’s water main maintenance, replacement and cover inflationary increases in operation and maintenance costs. 

The scheduled 2020 rate case process was delayed to early 2021 by the exigencies of the COVID-19 pandemic.    

Completed in 2020, results of a cost-of-service study were first presented to the Utilities Service Board (USB) Finance Subcommittee Monday, January 4, 2021. 

The study confirmed that residential customers have historically paid rates that are higher than their cost of service while all other customers have paid less than their cost of service. It was recommended that rates be adjusted to more accurately reflect the cost of service. 

The proposed rate changes would be implemented in two phases (2022 and 2024), and avoid any increase larger than 20% in either phase. 

Information about the rate case and proposed rates are available here.  

Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton

“Ensuring our safe water supply and stewarding this precious natural resource are some of the City’s primary responsibilities to the residents of today and tomorrow,” said Mayor John Hamilton.  “Regular rate increases ensure appropriate maintenance of our water mains and smarter tools for monitoring our water use–such as the smart meters we were able to install with the 2016 rate increase. In addition, this rate case will work to redistribute the costs of maintaining our water utility in a more equitable way among all customers.”   

CBU staff will be hosting an information meeting via Zoom video conference on Thursday, January 7 from Noon until 1:30 p.m. to present details and answer questions from the public.

Details follow:

Join Zoom Meeting https://bloomington.zoom.us/j/96653685975?pwd=OThoTGpWc3Bna0ZTY05vNWdtSWMzdz09

Meeting ID: 966 5368 5975

Passcode: 548340

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The USB’s Finance Subcommittee is scheduled to meet next on January 11 at 4 p.m. and January 19 at 4 p.m., after which the entire USB will consider final action on January 19 at the 5 p.m. regular meeting. Public participation is welcome at all meetings, which will be held over Zoom. Details for joining the meetings are posted at the City’s calendar.

Once the USB has considered the legislation, it will proceed to the Common Council for First Reading on February 3. Council Committee review will take place in the following weeks, with Final Action expected on March 3. Public participation is again welcome in all meetings.

If approved by Council, CBU will file the rate request with the Indiana Utilities Regulatory Commission (IURC) before the end of March 2021. CBU anticipates that the IURC will host public hearings, with the dates and times to be announced. Any final rates that are approved by IURC will go into effect in early 2022. 

CBU is funded entirely by its customers — the residents, businesses, public institutions, and wholesale water companies in and around Bloomington. For the current rates, fees, and charges, customers may visit the city’s website at bloomington.in.gov/utilities/rates

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