The City of Missoula has announced plans to raise rates for Missoula residents and businesses for water, wastewater and storm water services for the next three years.

Logan McInnis, Deputy Director of Public Works for Utilities spoke to KGVO News about the rate increases. He said the city has not raised water rates since 2011.

“Water rates are even a bit lower than they were back in 2011 and wastewater rates haven't changed since 2015,” said McInnis. “We've made a request to increase rates. If you look at it as sort of a combined utility bill for water, wastewater and storm water, right now we're at about $60 a month, so those three bills for a typical residential household which is just about the lowest in Montana.”

McInnis broke down the rate increase requests.

“The increase that we're proposing is a three year rate increase,” he said. “So the increase for FY 22 would add about $2.92 to that bill, so a little bit less than a $3 increase, and then I think the 23 and 24 increases are around another four bucks for each of those. So three years out, the typical bill for residential would be about $71.”

McInnis explained the purpose behind the rate increases.

“There's been a lot of deferred maintenance, particularly on the water system,” he said. “We've got pretty high rate of leakage and we have a lot of water mains that are 100 plus years old, and they've been ignored for too long. So we really need to ramp up our investments especially in water main replacements. I mean, there are other things we need; some new tanks, some new transmission mains and wells. Those are kind of the largest investments that are needed for the water system.”

McInnis said, like the public, the city is also being affected by inflation.

“We're getting just hammered with inflation across the board as we're trying to bid projects and also for purchasing materials repairs and things,” he said. “I mean, our costs have just have gone up across the board and of course in 10 years the consumer price index is up about 20% and our rates have been held steady so we have some catching up to do just on the inflation that we've already seen.”

Get more details on the utility rate increases here.

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