BMU board to consider 2022 rates, transfers

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BROOKINGS – Average residential customers can expect to pay about $1 more per month on their Brookings Municipal Utilities bills next year if proposed water rate increases are approved by the BMU board in November.

But the city-owned utility doesn’t plan to change electric, wastewater or telephone rates for the coming year.

BMU expects to transfer more than $2.5 million to the city’s general fund in 2022.

The transfers, along with anticipated rate changes, revenues and expenditures, will be discussed at 1 p.m. today, Tuesday, Oct. 12, when the Brookings Municipal Utilities Board holds a public hearing on the 2022 budget at the utility building.

Highlights include:

• Electric: Electric rates are to remain unchanged in 2022. The electric budget includes major expenditures of $3.9 million primarily for infrastructure development throughout the community, complete a substation conversion and continue with the meter replacement program and street light conversions. Net income is expected to be $3.2 million and the fund will transfer $2,305,000 to the city’s general fund.

• Water: Water rate increases are necessary to plan for future treatment plant, new and replacement transmission lines, continue with a meter replacement program and to cover increases in operating and maintenance expenses, BMU officials say. Capital expenditures are budgeted at $13.2 million.  The proposed 2022 residential usage charge will go up 3%, resulting in an increase of about $1 per month for the average residential customer. The fund is expected to show a net income of about $2.9 million.

• Wastewater: Wastewater rates are to remain unchanged in 2022. Capital expenditures will total $6.1 million for collection system improvements. These improvements include a large collector rehabilitation and road developments located where city street improvements are planned. The fund is expected to generate net income of $1.4 million.

• Telephone: The budget includes no changes to local telephone rates. Major telecommunications capital expenditures will total $2.2 million consisting of a variety of electronic systems and infrastructure improvements. Net income is expected to be about $2.1 million, and the fund will transfer $200,000 to the city’s general fund.

The board will take action on the proposed 2022 budget at 1 p.m. Monday, Nov. 8, at BMU. If approved, rate changes would take effect Jan. 1, 2022, 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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