MASON CITY, Iowa - Beginning next month, Mason City residents will see slight increases on some utility bills.
Mason City City Council approved the increases in water, sanitation and sewer rates during Tuesday night's council meeting. Rates will go up to about $3-$4 extra, equaling about $40 yearly. The reason: needing to upgrade key pieces of infrastructure.
Conn McKercher has lived in the Mason City for the last couple of years, and has lived in San Diego and Wisconsin. Compared to those places, he says the rates he's paid are about average and reasonable in the locations he's lived.
"Water is about $40 per month. Utilities of course vary, depending on the season. The last one was about $70 for electric and gas."
Despite the increases, he says it's worth paying just a bit more.
"If there is improved infrastructure, and that's what's going to happen, if it's for the public good, we all need to chip in."
With the heavy rainfall we've received lately, City Administrator Aaron Burnett says it's aggravated certain infrastructure like storm sewers.
"Especially with the high level of groundwater we have, that creates a lot of pressure on our systems. It can create failures in pipes, so it's important for us to see what's there, and fix the worst situations to make sure that residents can have confidence in the utilities that are provided to them."
"We've really tried to get the message out that it's not a flippant rate increase. What we're really trying to do is work to address these utilities and making sure we provide reliable utilities. When it comes to the sewers, no one wants to see it backed up in their house, and it's important that we work to address those."
Major projects on the city's list include implementing new metering for water systems, increasing tightness of the sewer collection system, and improve weak spots in the storm sewer system.