Letters have been sent out to Billings residents and you may see a change on your water bill as early as July.
The Billings Public Works Department proposes a water rate increase. Jennifer Duray is the deputy director of Public Works. She said the amount residents are charged for their water will most likely be going up. The average rate for a residential user would be 6.8% and waste water may see a 3% increase.
"There's several reasons that the rates are going up," Duray said. "There's always inflation driving our costs. Increasing regulations and then, the biggest driver this year is actually infrastructure needs. We have the West End reservoir and plant that we are planning for."
Lake Elmo in the Heights is a pretty big lake. You can do a lot of recreational activities, such as, fishing or swimming. Duray said the water reservoir in the West End will be bigger and better than Lake Elmo.
The water reservoir is an $84,000,000 project. Duray explained right now, there is only one water source for more than 115,000 residents. The supply at the aging plant decreases during certain times of the year and the plant also experiences power surges.
"If we would go down during our heavy usage summer months, we only have about 8 to 10 hours of storage before parts of Billings could do without water."
She said the new reservoir would provide a critical redundancy of water sources. The Billings Public Works department is looking into buying the knife river pit area and if successful, Duray said the reservoir would be a great amenity for the community.
"We'll make sure and have a trail around it and tie that into the Shiloh Conservation Area that's already out there," Duray said.
The city council would have to pass this proposal before the water rates could increase. If passed by city council, the water rate changes will be effective on July 1st and will be reflected on August bills.