Some complain that city bills are like Luke Air Force Base jets: They keep going up.
Indeed, those flushing 2020 away and celebrating 2021 with a glass of city water will be paying slightly more this year.
As a postcard mailed to residents noted, “For the average residential customer, your total utility bill will increase by approximately 2.7% or $2.26 per month. The breakdown of monthly rate increases are as follows: $1.09 for water and sewer (based on 3/4-inch meter and 10,000-gallon water usage); $0.92 for garbage and recycle; $0.25 for stormwater.”
While paying more is hardly a cause for celebration, Peoria residents would have been paying more for months—if not for Peoria City Council action.
The rate increase was originally scheduled for July 1, 2020—but council voted to delay the rate increase due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on many.
And, even with the increases that took effect the first day of 2021, Peoria residents still are paying less than many of their neighbors.
Most Peorians will pay a new base charge of $16.46 and $1.19 per thousand gallons for the first 4,000 gallons of water, then $3.16 per thousand gallons up to 10,000.
And most residents are now paying a sewer/wastewater base charge of $9.93 plus $2.17 per thousand gallons of flushed water.
Garbage and recycling costs for residents per month are now $16.21.
In Glendale, the water base charge is $12 with a $3.40-per-thousand-gallons-of-water usage rate up to 6,000.
So, while Peoria residents pay a higher base charge for water, they are paying roughly a third of what Glendale water users pay for the first 4,000 gallons.
And Glendale residents pay $11.40 monthly for sewer/wastewater service, plus a $4.37-per-thousand-gallon use rate.
Goodyear and Buckeye both have far higher utility rates than Glendale, so Peoria is paying far less than its West Valley southern neighbors.
Surprise and Mesa are also quite a bit more expensive for water, sewer and garbage than Peoria.
Avondale, Scottsdale and Tempe combined utility charges are similar to Peoria’s.
According to Kristina Perez, a Peoria spokeswoman, “The majority of our residents have a three-quarter inch meter and use an average of 10,000 gallons of water and 8,000 gallons for sewer.”
In 2020, the average customer currently paid monthly charges totaling around $85:
•Water, $39.47 (plus taxes and fees).
•Garbage and recycling, $15.29.
Still cheaper than Glendale
Even with the increases, Glendale remains solidly in the middle of the pack, when compared to neighboring cities’ utility rates.
Glendale utilities are far cheaper than Goodyear and Buckeye, about the same as Phoenix—and more expensive than Peoria, Avondale and Scottsdale, according to a city presentation.
But another “rate study”—which, for most cities, equates to “rate increase”—is on the way.
According to the meeting minutes, at a Dec. 17 workshop for the Glendale Utility Commission, financial administrator Dan Hatch “gave an educational presentation on the financial planning process in preparation for the upcoming rate study.”
The department’s mission statement: “The Water Department provides customers with safe, reliable, high quality water, wastewater and storm water services to ensure the health, vitality and sustainability of our community.”
Meanwhile, a recent city of Goodyear presentation (Goodyear is looking at raising utility rates over five years) showed Peoria water rates are neck and neck with Avondale for the lowest in the West Valley.
Glendale, Surprise, Goodyear and Buckeye water rates were all far higher than Peoria’s.