A sewer tax rate increase is on the horizon for Shorewood residents as the village works to pay for debt from sewer repairs.
The Village Board discussed three possible options Tuesday night to pay for debt related to sewer improvements conducted in the northwestern portion of the village, on North Downer Avenue and sewer maintenance.
Without a rate increase, the village's sewer utility fund would face a cash deficit by the end of the year. If the village wants to borrow for future sewer projects, the sewer rate must bring in enough money to keep a cash balance of 33 percent of operating expenses and an operating income at 125 percent of the debt service for the previous year.
Village staff presented three options:
- A rate increase of 46 percent in 2013, translating into an averaged quarterly $39 increase, an annual increase of $157.
- A rate increase of 33 percent in 2013 ($28 quarterly increase, $113 annually), followed by an increase of 9 percent in 2015 ($10 quarterly increase, $41 annually).
- A rate increase of 26 percent in 2013 (averaged $22 quarterly increase, $89 annually) and 12 percent increase in 2014 (averaged $12 quarterly increase and 51 annually).
The first option, with one large increase would cover the cash balance as well as the operating income this year. The second option would cover the cash balance this year and bring the operating income by 2014. The final option would cover cash balance and operating income in 2014.
Within all of the options, a rate increase would be effective beginning Feb. 15, meaning the increase will show up on bills received in June. Sewer tax bills are dispersed on a quarterly basis and are separate from the property tax bill calculated at the end of the year.
Officials leaned toward the second option, but asked village staff to bring back a recommendation on Feb. 5, when the Village Board is expected to make a final decision.
Additional rate increases could be possible in 2016 if the village decides to move forward with other sewer projects.
The work is part of a $32.4 million comprehensive approach to revamp Shorewood's outdated sewer system, which couldn't handle torrential rains in July 2010.