New wastewater billing methodology for Nevada City to begin in 2015 | TheUnion.com
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New wastewater billing methodology for Nevada City to begin in 2015

Nevada City households that conserve water will be getting a break on their sewer bills in 2015. Wastewater utility customers are currently billed on a fixed-fee basis — but that’s going to change next year.

Under the new billing methodology, 40 percent of the bill will be based on a fixed fee, but the other 60 percent will be determined by usage. Customers that use more water will pay more for sewer service, and customers that use less water will be rewarded with lower rates.

“Folks that use less would see their bills go down,” said city manager Mark Prestwich.



“Many would stay the same, and some users would see their rates increase,” Prestwich added.

The rate for each household will be based on metered water usage in January and February of each year. Each year the water bill for a given residence will be re-calculated based on those two months.




“By incorporating flow volumes into the rate methodology, low flow producers should expect to pay about the same or less, while large users, in most cases, should expect to pay more than present,” Prestwich wrote in a staff report to the city council.

The new billing methodology is based on a study by consulting civil engineer Mike Forga. That report also considered basing the wastewater rate on architectural parameters such as floor space and the number of toilet fixtures — especially for non-residential customers — but pointed out that this model doesn’t stay current with changing property uses, and requires regular updates.

The council directed Prestwich to prepare an ordinance implementing the new 40/60 blended fee structure Oct. 22. Before it can be implemented, however, the council will have to agendize a first and second reading before the ordinance can go into effect.

That is unlikely to occur before the end of the year, with just two Nevada City Council meetings remaining in 2014.

“It will take two meetings to get that formally adopted,” Prestwich said.

He added that the city’s current target start date is July 2015.

To contact Staff Writer Dave Brooksher, email dbrooksher@theunion.com or call 530-477-4230.


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