Steamboat Springs City water users could see a hike in their water rates as early as Jan. 1, 2003.
The City Council will decide tonight if water rates will increase by 1 percent for the average residential water user.
The increase is expected to bring the city an additional $115,000.
The rate hike had been proposed more than eight months ago, but the City Council had tabled the increase until after the November election.
The city had hoped a voter-approved consolidation with Mount Werner Water and Sanitation District would reduce capital and operating costs, and hold off the pending rate hike.
But when the question to consolidate failed at the polls, council members warned a rate increase would follow.
Just days after the agreement failed, the city voted to ask Mount Werner Water to continue negotiations.
However, City Council President Kathy Connell said it would be too late to avoid the rate increases.
Households that use high amounts of water will take the hardest hits under the new rate structure, with some seeing an increase as high as 35 percent.
That proposed rate changes would actual reduce the monthly charge from $12.35 to $9.50, but the volume charge per thousands of gallons would increase.
The city is keeping the inverted block rate structure for residential uses.
A household that uses 3,000 gallons of water would be charged at a much lower rate than one using 21,000 gallons.
The average residential customer, who uses about 7,000 gallons, should see a difference of about 30 cents in their water bill. The change would increase from $33.15 to $33.45.
For those using 15,000 gallons the change could be as much as 10 percent.
City Finance Director Don Taylor said this inverted block rate structure was created to encourage people to conserve water and to charge more for excess water use like lawn irrigation.
Commercial properties will retain a uniform fee for thousands of gallons used.
The monthly charge will drop from $17.20 to $12.30. But the volume charge per thousands of gallons would increase from $1.85 to $2.65, regardless of the amount of water used. A commercial property using 15,000 gallons would see an increase in their water bill by 8.3 percent, a difference of $7.
Commercial properties using 60,000 gallons would have an increase in their water bill by 17.8 percent.
The sewer bill for both commercial and water properties will remain unchanged.