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: “The base charge/fee for water includes a fixed fee used for a combination of stationary costs,” City Manager Jim O’Reilly says. That’s because even if you don’t use a drop of water, the city still has to pay to make sure you could have water if you needed it. This includes maintaining the water lines, staff, operating the water department, reading meters, billing and customer service.
“This cost is shared by all customers, so that the availability of water is constant,” O’Reilly says. “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.”