Q: Why are residents charged a base fee for water usage? From reader Susan Blankenship: “I wish the city would re-think the base fee for water usage. I know I’d be much more responsible and conservative with my consumption if I didn’t have that whole ‘I’m paying for it whether I use it or not” mentality’.”
A: We get this comment/question a lot, so we asked City Manager Jim O’Reilly to explain the city’s logic.
“The base charge/fee for water includes a fixed fee used for a combination of stationary costs. The utilities fixed expenses exist even without water consumption or usage, such as our costs for maintenance of water lines and the personnel required to operate and maintain the utility system, operation of the utility, meter reading, billing and customer service. This cost is shared by all customers, so that the availability of water is constant. This is sometimes referred to as a ‘readiness to serve charge’.
“The base minimum charge also includes 2,000 gallons of water – removal of the minimum base charge would create an increased per gallon cost per customer, to offset the overall costs of operating the utility system.”