Utility Rate Adjustments

Residents

Overview

In 2020, the City of Williston began a rate study to evaluate existing water, sewer, and sanitation rates and to determine costs of service and revenue generation. With the support of independent utility consultants AE2S* and Burns & McDonnell, City of Williston Administration and Finance departments prepared a 2022 rate schedule that includes modest rate increases that are needed to maintain financial stability and sustain a high level of service to residents.

The proposed rate adjustment will:

  • Keep pace of inflationary cost increases (labor, fuel, parts, materials).
  • Provide investment aid for expansion and long-term capital improvement of utility infrastructure by rehabilitating and replacing water pipes, treatment plants, pumps, reservoirs, and wells.
  • Promote operational self-sustainability and long-term financial viability of all enterprise funds.
  • Incentivize water conservation by removing the declining block tier.
  • Cover cost of services from rising demands.
  • Minimize reliance of both intergovernmental transfer subsidies such as the Gross Production Tax and debt issuance to fund operational and capital requirements.

Adoption of this rate schedule will allow the City of Williston to maintain some of the lowest utility rates in North Dakota, while continuing to lessen the burden of special assessments and other utility fees. While the City of Williston has managed to avoid substantial rate increases over the past 10 years, marginal adjustments to keep pace with inflation and the cost of service are at times necessary. 

Notice of the upcoming 2022 rate schedule and adjustments was distributed to the public via paper mail on December 10, 2021 and via email on December 17, 2021. As part of the notice, the public had the option to submit questions and feedback about the proposed rate schedule and adjustments via an online survey. The survey was available until Sunday, December 26 at 11:59 p.m. and questions were reviewed.

The 2022 rate schedule was presented to the Board of City Commissioners for consideration at the commission meeting on Tuesday, December 28, 2021 at 6pm in the John Kautzman Chamber Room at 22 East Broadway.  Finance Director, Hercules Cummings presented a memo to the Board of City Commissioners outlining the proposed 2022 water, sewer, and sanitation rate adjustments.

The Board of City Commissioners approved the 2022 Water and Sanitation rate increase effective February 1, 2022, including a 3% automatic increase for both water and sewer applied the 1st of every year starting in 2023 with the discretion of the Board of City Commissioners to remove or adjust as needed. Read the full minutes from the meeting, including discussion by the Board of City Commissioners, here.


The Rate Adjustment

The following rate adjustments, having been approved by the Board of City Commissioners, will become effective February 1, 2022.

  • Water [rates last adjusted 13+ years ago]
    • Price per unit of residential water increases from $2.60/unit to $2.80/unit*
    • Summer rate price per unit of residential water increases from $2.05/unit to $2.20/unit
    • Summer rates for sewer and water set from June through September
Monthly Water Meter Charges
Rate and Fee Changes-Monthly Water Meter Charges 2022
  • Sewer [rates last adjusted in 2015, from $0.90 to $1.09/unit]
    • Price per unit of residential sewer increases from $1.09/unit to $2.00/unit for both commercial and residential
    • Summer rates for sewer and water set from June through September
  • Sanitation
    • Residential collection (98-gallon container) increases from $7.35 to $11.00
    • Landfill Refuse (residential) price per ton increases from $42.00/ton to $45.00/ton
    • Landfill Refuse (commercial) price per ton increases from $46.20/ton to $49.50/ton
    • Landfill Construction Materials Inert (residential) price per ton increases from $20.00/ton to $25.00/ton
    • Landfill Construction Materials Inert (commercial) price per ton increases from $22.00/ton to $27.50/ton
    • Tires (small vehicle size) increases from $7.00/each to $10.00/each
    • Minimum Fee increases from $5.00 + $0.20 recycling fee to $6.75 + $0.25 recycling fee
*1 unit = 100 cubic feet or 748 gallons

Residential Impact

The overall average impact expected to customers is a 20% annual increase to include water and sewer summer rates, elimination of declining block, and summer rate period adjustment. The increase is made effective February 1, 2022.

Water | In Review

  • Price per 748 gallons of residential water increases $0.20 on February 1, 2022 and $0.15 in the summer [June-September].
  • Previous water rate increase was 13+ years ago.
  • 2nd lowest rates in North Dakota for average monthly usage of 8 units [800 cubic ft or approximately 6,000 gallons].
  • 6,000+ new water meters [SmartPoints] will be installed late 2022 to replace obsolete meter transceiver units [MXUs]. Currently, 300 units have been installed with the remaining quantities ordered. The last system-wide meter changeout was 2008. Contractors will assist Public Works staff with the installation process. Phase I will include residential meters (5/8" and 1") and Phase II will include commercial meters (anything larger than 1").
  • Continued production of 21 million gallons of water from the Williston Regional Water Treatment Plant, a high-level facility.
Comparison to Other North Dakota Cities

Water
Rate and Fee Changes- WATER-FB3

Sewer | In Review

  • Price per 748 gallons of residential and commercial sewer increases $0.91 on February 1, 2022. This same rate applies in the summer [June-September].
  • Previous sewer rate increase was in 2015 with a change from $0.90 to $1.09/unit.
  • Lowest rates in North Dakota for average monthly usage of 8 units [800 cubic ft or approx. 6,000 gallons].
  • Continued processing of 4.5 million gallons per day through the Water Resouce Recovery Facility, the first North Dakota municipal facility to achieve a “Class A” level of biosolids treatment [highest possible level].


Sewer
Rate and Fee Changes- SEWER-FB3

Sanitation
2021 Residential Waste Collection Monthly Rates - Burns and McDonnell


2021 Landfill Disposal Rates per Ton (Municipal Solid Waste ) - Burns and McDonnell


2021 Landfill Disposal Rates per Ton (Inert and Construction and Demolition Waste) - Burns and McDonnell

*AE2S has completed an annual utility rate survey for the last 20 years. In 2021, surveys were deployed to water systems and utilities in 11 states, including Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Read more about the survey here.