Last Chance to Voice Your Opinion on the MSD Sewer Rate Hike
Residents to possibly see a 64-percent rate increase throughout four years, to fund sewer upgrades.
Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) customers have the last chance this week to give their opinion on a matter that affects the entire St. Louis area.
The St. Louis Metropolitan Sewer District's independent rate commission is hosting its final public hearing on a rate increase proposal on customer rates.
The hearing is from 9 a.m. to noon Thursday at the MSD offices at 2350 Market St. in St. Louis. The proposed increases would help pay for $1 billion in wastewater treatment upgrades required by a lawsuit agreement.
The public hearing is the last one scheduled before the commission gives its recommendation on the proposal to the MSD Board of Trustees during the board's Nov. 10 meeting.
MSD officials said the sewer system needs $1 billion in upgrades because some of the area's sewers need serious upgrades. In fact, some were installed before the U.S. Civil War. Customers are being asked to foot the bill to the tune of a possible 64 percent increase on their monthly bill.
How much to flush?
The rate increase will take a customer's sewer tab from $28.73 to $47.05 monthly* on an average residential bill between 2012 and 2016.
Rates already jumped about $1.50 a month for 2011.
Sewer district staff is scheduled to be on hand at the meetings to go over basic facts of a 64 percent hike in sewer bills, and rate commission staff will be there taking notes.
A proposal to raise fees for storm water sewers (not waste water) is still in court on appeal by the sewer district against the State of Missouri. It's unclear how much that would cost residents.
- Regulatory requirements—laws that protect clean water didn't exist in 1850, or even 1957, when the district formed
- Increased use of debt—sewer district borrowed previously
- Loss of customer base—population dropped in the district, both residential and commercial, as the 2010 Census showed.
- Declining water usage—we conserve more water (a good thing), which bites into sewer district revenue because it's billed by how much we use (so the price goes up).
- Economic conditions—sewer district said customers are having trouble paying their bills.
*Information is drawn from the Metropolitan Sewer District website.