February 12, 2024 |

Photo – Sewer pipe – Courtesy Shutterstock

Major hikes are needed to the sewer rates in Rawlins in order to pay for required maintenance.

On January 30th, the Rawlins city council held a special work session to review the city’s rates for utilities and services. Like the water fund, the Rawlins sewer fund needs a large influx of cash to cover the cost of repairing and replacing the aging sewer pipes.

During the January 30th special work session, City Manager Tom Sarvey said the city’s sewer fund has stayed consistent over the past 5 years, at around $6 million. However, Sarvey said a recent sewer inspection showed that most of the city’s sewer lines need extensive maintenance.

Sarvey said the city’s sewer fund does not have enough money set aside to pay for the infrastructure projects. The city manager said barring a large grant or other source of revenue, sewer fees would need to at least double to cover the cost of repairs.

Sarvey said he originally planned to ask the council to approve a 20% increase to residents’ sewer bills. However, the city manager said the added $200,000 a year would not be enough to keep the sewer fund afloat and pay for the required maintenance on the city’s sewer lines.

Sarvey said the city needs to generate an additional $1.5 million a year to pay for the repair projects. At that price, the city manager said a sewer rate increase of 162% will be needed. A 162% increase will raise the city’s sewer rate from $15 to $40 a month.

Vice Mayor Steve Sanger asked Sarvey how long the city will need the extra $1.5 million. The city manager said the extent of the repairs means they will take a decade or more to finish.

By the time all the sewer lines are replaced, Sarvey said the city will need to start the entire process all over again, making the additional funding a permanent part of the budget.

Sarvey said he’ll meet with Public Works Director Cody Dill and come up with a more detailed analysis of what projects need to be tackled first and exactly how much of a rate increase will be needed to pay for them.

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