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Water rate hike proposed by city

Water could be more expensive in New Richmond come July 1.

The New Richmond Municipal Water Utility has filed for a rate increase with the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin.

If approved, the rate adjustment calls for a two-stage bump upward.

The first step would be a 23 percent increase. The second bump would result in a 41 percent hike in the current rate.

For a typical residential customer, who uses 5,000 gallons of water per month, the current $18.10 rate will increase to $22.45. With the second step, the water rate will go to $25.

According to Nancy Petersen, utility manager, the city's last full rate increase was in 1997. A partial rate hike of 3 percent was instituted in 2005.

"A full rate hike hasn't been done for a long time," Petersen said.

The rate hike is needed to offset increasing operational and maintenance expenses, she said.

If the rate hike is approved, the utility expects to collect $196,815 more revenue from its water service. After the second stage of the rate increase goes into effect, the utility will see $357,896 in extra revenue.

The Public Service Commission has set a telephone hearing on the rate hike proposal for 2 p.m. Wednesday, June 18.

Customers can attend the meeting at the PSC Building, 610 North Whitney Way, Madison, Wis. or the New Richmond Civic Center, 156 East First Street.

People can make verbal comments about the proposal at that time, or provide written comments prior to the gathering. Written comments must be made by June 17 at 11:59 p.m. via

If the rate hike is approved, Petersen said the July 15 billing will be the first one with the higher rates.