Haulers get reprieve on wastewater ratesWastewater haulers will get a reprieve from higher rates at the Superior Wastewater Treatment Plant — for now.
By: Shelley Nelson, Superior Telegram
Wastewater haulers will get a reprieve from higher rates at the Superior Wastewater Treatment Plant — for now.
The Superior City Council on Tuesday split 5-4, failing to pass an ordinance change that would allow the city to raise the rates to match higher rates city residents on the sewer system will pay starting Jan. 1.
Councilors favoring the change outnumbered those against it, but the council didn’t get the six votes needed to raise the rates.
Councilor Bob Finsland was excused from Tuesday night’s meeting.
Councilors Tom Bridge, Jackie Stenberg, Denise McDonald, Mike Herrick and Bob Browne favored raising the rates. Councilors Mick McKenzie, Dan Olson, Warren Bender and Len Joyal voted against the proposal.
“I understand what the issue is as far as these rate increases to the haulers,” MacKenzie said. “It’s parallel with the sewer rates. Unfortunately, I have a lot of people in Billings Park that are on septic systems, holding tanks, and these charges that are going to the haulers — that’s a set thing, but there’s no restrictions on what they can in turn charge the residents … I couldn’t vote for something that’s an unknown.”
During a finance committee meeting Dec. 8, Diane Nelson of Superior’s Environmental Services Division told the panel she couldn’t determine how the rate increase might affect homeowners because of other costs haulers bear in running their businesses. She said her hauler currently pays $20.80 at the treatment plant to empty the waste from her 2,000-gallon holding tank, she’s charged $120 to cover other business expenses such as the vehicle, insurance and fuel.
Under the proposed rate increase, haulers would pay $12.20 per 1,000 gallons of holding tank waste. Septic system waste, which is more concentrated, would climb from $$31.38 per 1,000 gallons to $36.81.
The change in the rate was based on an average of the rate increase city sewer customers will pay, a change that will increase revenue for waste treatment by 17.4 percent.
While councilors failed to pass an ordinance change Tuesday night, the issue is not dead.
Bridge and Stenberg made a motion to renew the issue at the council’s next meeting. The council meets again Jan. 17.