When it comes to planning to be the City of the Future, Gilbert routinely evaluates the fiscal health of the community’s water, wastewater, reclaimed water, environmental services, and environmental compliance utilities.
Gilbert is proposing new utility rates to reflect the increased costs to operate these utility services and for infrastructure improvements, such as the reconstruction of the North Water Treatment Plant.
The following summary is a brief synopsis of the data presented at the Gilbert Town Council Retreat. The Gilbert Town Council has adopted a Notice of Intent to increase utility rates for water and environmental service fees and will host a public hearing and vote to adopt the new rates at the February 22nd Council Meeting. If approved, the new rates would go into effect on April 1, 2022.
Even with these proposed changes, Gilbert is still one of the lowest cost (and highest quality) utility service providers in Maricopa County.
Why now? Increased costs.
A recent study has determined that rate adjustments are needed to maintain the fiscal health of the utility operations in Gilbert and ensure continued quality services. Out of the five utility services, only two rates would change–water and environmental services. Environmental services are refuse (solid waste), bulk trash, and recycling. The new proposed rates reflect the increased costs to operate these utility services since 2018 when our last rate increase occurred.
To be able to deliver on-demand potable drinking water, a tremendous amount of infrastructure to water meters, fire hydrants, and more must be maintained.
Also, the North Water Treatment Plant needs updated treatment technology and improvements to ensure the production of a continuous, safe drinking water supply.
The costs to dispose of waste at landfills have increased 10% since our last rate increase.
Additionally, due to the volatility of the current recycling market, we have seen increases in the cost to recycle materials.
12 years. 2 increases. 2 decreases.
Gilbert is committed to operating as efficiently as possible and strives to be proactive and prepared in infrastructure maintenance. In the past 12 years, there were two rate increases in Gilbert. Water, wastewater, reclaimed water, and environmental compliance utility rates were last increased in 2018. Environmental service utility rates have decreased twice, by 7.5%, since 2012.
Efforts to decrease costs
Conservation and efficiency guide our long-term water management. Gilbert’s Water Conservation team provides customized tools and programs to help all water users be efficient with water. Gilbert also routinely evaluates our internal operations to optimize efficiency. Here are a few examples:
Average Residential Bill Change: +$11
The new rates do alter the amount Gilbert charges residential customers for monthly environmental services. For example, your black trash can (90 gallon) is currently $14.80. The proposed rate is $19.03, which is an increase of $4.23.
However, even with the proposed changes, Gilbert would have the second-lowest average utility residential bill compared to surrounding cities. The current total average bill for water, sewer and environmental services is $66.71. With the proposed changes, the average bill will be $77.96, which is an approximate $11 increase.
The impact to each utility customer will vary. Gilbert’s Utility Bill Calculator can help you determine the effect of the rate increase on your expected monthly bill.
New one-time service fees
Gilbert will be adding fees for different one-time service collections. Currently, we do not charge for these services.
These new fees for one-time service collections will more equitably spread out the costs to perform these services for the community. The new one-time fees cover:
- Additional service collections
- Container maintenance
- Appliance pickup
- Special bulk trash services
With these proposed utility rate increases, Gilbert will be able to maintain customer service levels, achieve revenue sufficiency, equitably assign the costs of service to different customer classes, promote efficient water use and operate self-sufficient utilities that are not subsidized or that subsidize other services.
Gilbert will be hosting open house workshops to help answer questions regarding these changes. Both workshops are available virtually. Visit our website to learn more.