BMU board considers 2019 rates, transfers


BROOKINGS – Average residential customers can expect to pay about $3.66 more per month on their Brookings Municipal Utilities bills next year if proposed rate increases are approved by the BMU board in November.

The city-owned utility company also expects to transfer more than $2.3 million to the city’s general fund in 2019, said Laura Julius, BMU finance and accounting manager.

The transfers, along with anticipated rate changes, revenues and expenditures, will be discussed today, when the Brookings Municipal Utilities Board holds a public hearing on the 2019 budget. The meeting starts at 1 p.m. at the utility headquarters on Western Avenue.

Highlights include:

Electric: A 2.5 percent average annual rate increase is proposed.  If adopted, the average residential customer will see an increase of about $1.90 per month. 

The electric budget includes major expenditures of $3.4 million, primarily for infrastructure development throughout the community, to complete construction of a substation, and to continue with a meter replacement program and street light conversions. Net income is expected to be $3 million, and the fund will transfer $2,155,000 to the city’s general fund.

Water: Water rate increases are necessary to plan for future treatment plant and water tower renovations and replacements, continue with a meter replacement program and to cover increases in operating and maintenance expenses, Julius reported. Capital expenditures are budgeted at $2.6 million.  

The proposed 2019 residential usage charge will go up 3 percent, resulting in an increase of about $1.03 per month for the average residential customer. The fund is expected to show a net income of about $2.9 million.

Wastewater: The proposed wastewater rate increase averages 2 percent.  The average residential customer will see an increase of about 73 cents per month. Capital expenditures will total $3.9 million for collection system improvements, including a large collector rehabilitation and follow road development plans. The fund is expected to generate net income of $1 million.

Telephone: There are no local rate changes planned for Swiftel Communications customers in 2019. Major telecommunications capital expenditures will total $4.2 million consisting of a variety of electronic systems and infrastructure improvements. Net income is expected to be about $880,000 and the fund will transfer $200,000 to the city’s general fund. 

The board will take action on the proposed 2019 budget at 1 p.m. Nov. 13 at BMU. If approved, rate changes would take effect Jan. 1, 2019, and would be reflected on the bills customers receive Feb. 1.  BMU will provide additional rate details with the next billing.

Brookings Municipal Utilities is owned by the city of Brookings and has provided telephone, electric, water and wastewater services to its citizens for more than 100 years.


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