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Falls sewer fees stay fairly flat

Residential usage charge to increase $3

Oct. 9, 2013

Menomonee Falls — The usage fee charged by the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District to Menomonee Falls residents who fall in the district's coverage area is proposed to increase by $2.80 in 2014.

MMSD's 2014 capital budget and tax levy will be passed this month. Before that happens, representatives from the district gave the Menomonee Falls Village Board an update about its capital budget and fees that will be charged to the village and village residents in 2014.

The overall total bill to the village is projected to decrease.

The capital charges to Menomonee Falls are expected to decrease by $44,790 in 2014. In 2012, MMSD had projected that rates would begin to increase for Menomonee Falls. However, the district is planning to start capital projects sooner than expected that Menomonee Falls is exempt from paying for, which reduces village rates, said Mark Kaminski, controller and treasurer for MMSD.

Menomonee Falls is one of 28 communities served by MMSD. The village is considered a "nonmember" because only parts of the village are served by the district. By being a nonmember, the village is not affected by certain capital projects, therefore, there are times it is not charged as much as the member communities.

"We reduce (rates) for any water course or flood management work that doesn't impact nonmember communities," Kaminski said.

By being a nonmember, Menomonee Falls has paid $15 million less than member communities since 1998, he said. That's because of MMSD projects that do not impact Menomonee Falls. For example, MMSD's Lincoln Creek project cost about $100 million, which was not part of Falls' bill. Kaminski said rates in Falls are anticipated to remain lower than the member communities for the next four to five years because of two capital projects that won't affect Falls.

In 2013, MMSD billed the village for capital costs totaling $4.97 million. The 2014 capital bill is projected to be about $4.92 million, approximately $45,000 less.

The district is requesting a 1.75 percent increase in total user charges, which goes toward the cost of operating and maintaining the sewer system. This means a resident's bill is increasing from $113.62 to $116.43.

During the presentation, Executive Director of MMSD Kevin Schafer thanked the village for leading the way in reducing private property inflow and infiltration. Inflow and infiltration is groundwater that gets into pipes and overloads the sewer systems. Menomonee Falls has been making progress in identifying faulty pipes and fixing them.

"It's a great partnership and I want to thank you for that," Shafer said.

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