Albany City Council weighs annual utility increase

Albany City Council weighs annual utility increase

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Albany City Hall STOCK PIX

Albany City Hall

The Albany City Council on Monday held the first of two conversations surrounding the annual review of utility rates and possible adjustments. 

"We don't like to surprise you with information. We don't like to surprise customers with information," said Public Works Engineering and Community Development Director Jeff Blaine, explaining that any change in rates wouldn't take effect until July 2020 at the earliest and January 2021 at the latest. 

Currently, the average utility bill in Albany is about $121. With increases to water, sewer and storm water, the bill would be about $127 per month, representing a 5% increase.

The breakdown includes a 3.5% increase in sewer, 5% in water and 17% for storm water. 

The money, according to Blaine, goes to pay off the city's debts first, including payments on loans for the Albany-Millersburg reclamation facility and the upcoming loan payments for the Riverfront Interceptor project, which is aimed at reducing overflows during the rainy reason. 

Once debt payments are satisfied, money garnered from rates funds operations and maintenance of the system and any remaining funds are used for capital projects. 

In 2018, the council set goals of raising $2.7 million per year for water projects, $2.9 million for the sewer system and about $440,000 for storm water projects.

No decisions were made Monday. The issue will come back before the council at a later date. A public hearing will have to be held before an increase can be implemented. 

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