FLUSHING — Flushing residents will see their water and sewer bills slowly increase in the coming years, following the city’s implementation of a new water/sewer rate plan.
At Monday’s meeting, Flushing City Council unanimously approved increases to water and sewer rates over the next five years, beginning in 2022 and lasting through 2026. The rate structure plan, which was recommended in a study conducted by Utility Financial Services, would set water rates at a 4.9 percent increase per year and increase current sewer rates from 2.65 percent to 6.5 percent through the five-year period.
In her report to the council, Dawn Lund with Utility Financial Services said that the city’s current sewer and water rate structures are not generating positive cash flow to cover debt services and pay for the city’s upcoming bond projects with its Wastewater Treatment Plant. She said that a gradual increase in rates is needed to help to finance capital improvement projects and balance debt coverage in both the water and sewer departments.
For example, residents with a ¾ inch water meter would see their quarterly water fees rise from $63 to $78 over the next five years (a three dollar increase per year), while their water commodity rates would increase from $7.90 per 1,000 gallons to $10.10 per 1,000 gallons.
Quarterly sewer service fees would also increase from $35 to $60 for most customers over the five-year period (a five dollar increase per year) and sewer commodity rates would rise from $5.05 per 1000 gallons to $5.80 per 1,000 gallons.
Lund said that under the new plan, the water department’s operating income is projected to be $137,542 for 2022 and increase to $410,561 by 2026. With the rate increases, the wastewater department would see a projected operating income of $103,310 for 2022 and an increase to $319,167 by 2026.
The plan will also adjust Flushing’s water rate system from a straight fee rate to a progressive fee rate based on water meter size.
Flushing Mayor Joseph Karlichek said that a slow, methodical increase in water and sewer rates will be easier on residents than a large, one-time increase, while helping to stabilize revenues and cover upgrades for both departments.
“This plan will help to service capital improvement projects that we are so desperately in need of, especially our $5.5 million bond project at the Wastewater Treatment Plant,” he said. “We want to see these projects through and keep our systems up to date.”
On Karlichek’s recommendation, the council approved a motion to reevaluate the water/sewer rate plan in 2025, in order to review revenues and make any necessary updates or changes to rates.
The City of Flushing’s most recent water and sewer rate increases came in 2018.
To see the full water and sewer rate reports, visit flushingcity.com.