Scottsdale moves forward on plans to increase water, wastewater rates

Scottsdale City Hall, 3939 N. Drinkwater Blvd. (Independent Newsmedia/Josh Martinez)

The Scottsdale City Council is moving forward with its plans to increase water and wastewater rates and charges for the upcoming fiscal year.

The city’s governing body, as part of the consent agenda, unanimously approved a notice of intention to increase the rates, make adjustments to the city’s revised code for the fiscal year 2018-19 and establish a date for a public hearing on the increase.

The approval came at a Tuesday, March 20 city council meeting at City Hall, 3939 N. Drinkwater Blvd.

State laws require a public notice and a public hearing to make sure residents have enough notice time to study the city’s justification for raising rates and comment at a public hearing, a city staff reports states.

The city has a timeline leading up to the proposed rate changes and starts with the city submitting a written report or data in favor of the changes by April 22 and publishing the notice on May 2.

The public hearing is scheduled for a May 22 city council meeting and the city plans to adopt changes sometime after the meeting. This would mean water rate changes would take effect Nov. 1 and wastewater rate changes take effect July 1.

The city says it is also making “housekeeping” updates to Chapter 49 — called Water, Sewers and Sewage Disposal — of the City Code which include processes, definitions and titles. The city plans for these changes to take effect July 1.

Scottsdale sets its rates for water and wastewater based on a five-year plan that is updated yearly. City staff say the five-year plan helps them ensure that rate adjustments generate sufficient revenues to cover costs of serving customers and maintaining sufficient reserves.


The city is proposing an increase to base fees. Also proposed changes would also include a third-tier commodity increase from $3.70 to $3.75, a fourth-tier increase from $4.75 to $4.85 and a fifth-tier increase from $5.55 to $5.70.

For commercial and landscaping, the city is looking at a third-tier increase from $3.70 to $3.75 and a fourth-tier bump-up of $4.05 to $4.25.

The city anticipates the increases will provide a $2.6 million annual revenue increase of 2.8 percent.

Rising costs in several facets such as electricity, raw water and several others is why the city claims it needs the increase.


The city is proposing a base fee increase as well as a proposed volumetric increase for residential and commercial customers from .5 percent to 1 percent.

With the changes, the city forecasts a $600,000 revenue increase or 1.5 percent. The city is justifying these changes because of rising costs in electricity and the Sub Regional Operating Group, among other factors.


The only miscellaneous change planned is an increase to the commercial water-hauler base fee. This change is anticipated to present a revenue increase of $600.

Miscellaneous charges are only assessed to specific users of the specified service so general rate payers don’t have to pay them, a city staff report states.

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