Public hearing scheduled for water rate increase in Elk Mound

by LeAnn R. Ralph

ELK MOUND — An August 21 public hearing has been scheduled by the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin regarding an overall water rate increase of 18 percent for water utility customers in Elk Mound.

The hearing will be held at 10 a.m. by telephone in the Elk Mound Municipal Building.

[emember_protected]Elk Mound’s last full water rate increase was in 1992.

According to documents filed with the PSC, the Elk Mound water and sewer utility submitted an application for an increase because the utility has experienced a 56 percent increase in plant investment and 103 percent increase in operating expenses since the last full rate increase.

The Elk Mound Village Board implemented simplified rate increases of three percent in 2003, 2008, 2010 and 2011, and the PSC recently ordered a full water rate increase instead of an additional simplified rate increase.

The new water rate increase will result in an increase of $22,761 in revenue annually.

According to the village’s newsletter, an average residential customer who uses 3,000 gallons per month will see an increase in the water bill from $17.03 to $21.50.

Documents filed with the PSC indicate that the Village of Elk Mound will have an interest expense of $3,678 for 2012 on a State Trust Fund Loan for the U.S. Highway 12 laterals and pump repairs with an outstanding principal at the end of the year of $67,283.

A Clean Water Fund loan for the wastewater treatment plant will have an interest expense of $2,531 for 2012 with an outstanding principal of $67,515 at the end of the year.

Last August, Jim Murray of Baker Tilley Virchow Krause appeared before the Elk Mound Village Board to talk about a full rate increase and noted that the cost for Baker Tilley to prepare the application would be around $7,000.

In April, the Elk Mound Village Board debated about the best way to complete the process for a rate increase and authorized Pat Hahn, village clerk-treasurer, to file the application.

The Elk Mound Village Board also unanimously approved a motion in April to implement a six percent sewer rate increase effective June 15.

Documents filed with the PSC for the full water rate increase in Elk Mound are available on the PSC’s website at www.psc.wi.gov. The file number is “1810-WR-100.”

Elk Mound residents can testify about the rate increase during the public hearing at the Elk Mound village hall on August 21 at 10 a.m. or can submit a written statement during the public hearing.

Elk Mound residents also can submit comments via the PSC’s website or can mail comments to Docket 1810-WR-100 Comments; Public Service Commission; P.O. Box 7854; Madison, Wisconsin, 53707-7854.

Comments submitted by mail or via the Internet are due by August 20.[/emember_protected].