How will the bond issues affect sewer rates?

If voters approve Columbia’s $77 million bond issue, connection fees and rates will increase through 2013.

The connection fee for a new single-family home would increase from $600 to $700 in fiscal 2009 and $800 in fiscal 2010.


What happens if the bond issues are not approved?

For the Boone County Sewer District, the upgrades are driven by state disinfection requirements. If voters reject the issue, the sewer district’s board of directors could come up with cash to meet the higher standards of treatment by increasing user rates even more than with the bond issue.

The district, like the city, could also go to voters again.

Without the bonding authority, average monthly rates for residential users would increase to $69.06 in 2009, $77.45 in 2010 and $139.89 in 2011 before dipping to $77.45 in 2012 and 2013 to draw up the cash needed to meet the disinfection deadlines, said Tom Ratermann, the sewer district’s manager.

“We need to borrow because we just can’t afford it up front,” Ratermann said.
The sewer district’s board of trustees is “firmly committed to complying with state law, and I’m confident that they’re going to do what they have to comply,” he said. “They’ll look at all their options and choose the option that’s best for the environment, public health and the rate payers in the long term.”