The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Ironwood water-sewer rate hike to pay for summer project



Ironwood — The Ironwood City Commission on Monday approved sewer and water rate increases of around $5 a month to help pay for debt service for the summer phase 4 infrastructure project.

Water rate increases of 5 percent and sewer hikes of 2.24 percent were approved by the three commissioners attending the meeting, with a 2 percent cost of living (inflationary) adjustment to both charges.

The city commission had previously approved the annual inflationary increases in the rates.

City manager Scott Erickson said sewer-water rates are typically adjusted on July 1, but because of the phase 4 project financing, they had to be approved earlier this year, prior to spring bidding, as required by the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Rural Development.

Commissioner Jim Mildren noted the project, in its fourth phase, is being tackled after most of the streets in the city have been resurfaced. “This is as important as anything we can do,” he said.

Erickson noted in addition to the sewer and water repairs, the roads are resurfaced in the infrastructure projects, an added benefit to city residents.

At its Feb. 27 meeting, the commission learned the entire project will cost around $3.8 million, with the water portion pegged at $3.3 million and the sewer work at $470,000.

A 1.625 percent loan is being taken out for the water work, while the sewer work will be covered by a 75 percent grant and 25 percent loan.

According to a chart provided to commissioners, as of April 1, a customer with a five-eighths-inch meter using 500 cubic feet of water a month will see a water-sewer bill increase from $107.12 to $112.82.

The entire project would have been decided with a referendum if 10 percent of the voters filed a petition to conduct a vote on it, but that didn’t happen.

Previous sewer-water increases were authorized for the first three phases of infrastructure improvements designed to update a system that had distribution pipes nearly 100 years old when the work began.

Mayor Annette Burchell, Brandon Tauer and Mildren approved the increases. Rick Semo and Kim Corcoran were absent.


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