The Columbia City Council is planning to vote on the budget for fiscal year 2018 on Monday night. Council Member Michael Trapp says monthly utility rates will increase by approximately $3.87, and that almost all utility rates increase each year.
“I think we keep our rates as low as we can. A goal of the city is to keep rate increases for all of the utilities less than $5 a month,” said Trapp.
Water and Light uses the money to operate the utilities, like power lines and the solar program. Trapp said these operations are fundamental for the city and that the increase does not deserve much of a discussion.
However, Trapp said not everyone is in favor of the increase because it’s unclear how current utility funds are being used.
“We’ve had some regrettable problems with printing financial reports but the operators have all of the up to date financial information. They’re in the process of fact-checking the monthly reports for accuracy and distributing those to the public through the Water and Light board,” Trapp said.
Trapp said if the electric utility does not increase this year, it will increase more sharply in the future. City Council is planning to meet Monday night to vote on the new budget.