Utility study recommends rate increase

DOT map shows a section of the work to be done in 2015 from Main St. to 10th St. CBJ will also install a new water main.

DOT map shows a section of the work to be done in 2015 from Main St. to 10th St. CBJ will also install a new water main.

The Alaska Department of Transportation will resurface Egan Drive from Main Street to 10th Street next year.

It’s a good time to put a new water main along the same route.

The Main Street water main, a Glacier Highway pressurized main, and a sewer lift station are the first of a decade’s worth of water and sewer improvements Juneau needs.

CBJ Public Works Director Kirk Duncan says about a quarter of the city and borough’s water and wastewater system will be replaced over the next ten years.

“We have (about) 275 million dollars in assets for water and wastewater in the city and borough of Juneau.  A lot of them were installed in the 80s using federal money from Clean Water Act and the Drinking Water Act and those assets are coming due.  We’re estimating it’s going to take about 72 million dollars over the next ten years to bring the assets back into good working order,” Duncan says.

A CBJ utility rate study, underway for several months, recommends paying for that work with CBJ sales tax revenue, cruise ship passenger fees, a revenue bond, and a customer rate increase.

“The rates would go up 9 and a half percent each year for the next five years for both water and wastewater and then 5 percent per year for the last five years of the rate study,” Duncan says.

The current study covers the city and borough’s utility needs through 2024.  Customers rates would go up July 1 of this year.

Duncan and a consultant from Seattle-area Financial Consulting Solutions Group will present the funding suggestions Monday at a meeting of the Juneau Assembly’s Committee of the Whole in Assembly chambers at 6 p.m.

On Tuesday, the public can weigh in on rate study proposals at a meeting from 6 to 8 p.m. at Mendenhall Valley Library, and on Wednesday at Hangar Ballroom in Merchants’ Wharf, from 7 to 9 p.m.

(Note of full disclosure:  Kirk Duncan is also a member of the KTOO Board of Directors).

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