Dixon council freezes water rates for a month after spotting errors before bills go out

‘We want to be sure we get it right before bills go out,’ public works director says

DIXON – The city will be delaying water rate increases by a month after discovering a problem in the billing process.

Two weeks ago, the Dixon City Council approved raising water rates to 7.5% this year, averaging around $4.60 a month for water users. That will be followed by a 5.7% increase next year, about $3.78, and 2.5% increases, around $1.74, the next two years.

City staff discovered some errors with the billing formula, and they had to make some adjustments, Public Works Director Matt Heckman said Monday.

None of the bills were sent out, and this month will be based on the previous water and sewer rates for all customers.

“We want to be sure we get it right before bills go out,” Heckman said.

In 2019, the city contracted with Willett, Hofmann and Associates for a water rate study, which originally recommended higher rate increases to build a better reserve in the water fund.

The council decided to cap the increase at inflation, which was 7.5% earlier this year. Increases were made to keep up with the rising costs of projects, equipment and new state mandates.

Wastewater rates will be frozen for residential customers for the next 4 years and then increase by 2.5%.

For large commercial water users, the water increases will be 2.5% this year followed by 12.8%, 9.3%, 8.6%, 7.6% and 7% in future years.

Rachel Rodgers

Rachel Rodgers

Rachel Rodgers joined Sauk Valley Media in 2016 covering local government in Dixon and Lee County.