Evart water, sewer rates expected to increase as result of Ventra upgrades

EVART — Residents in Evart who use city water and sewer services should expect to see rate increases, as Ventra installs a new system that will reduce its use of city utilities.

Ventra is beginning infrastructure upgrades to its water system, and will construct cooling towers on the property. Although the system is an environmentally friendly and cost effective option for the business, it means less city water will be used and less revenue for Evart.

The company did not respond to questions about the project by press time.

"No one has done anything wrong, but it's another devastating action for the city," said Evart City Manager Zack Szakacs. "Ventra is staying here, but they're saving water. They have been using 600 million gallons per year, but now that will be drastically reduced."

Although the exact numbers won't be seen until the system is in place, Szakacs said city water use could be reduced to anywhere between 25 and 75 million gallons per year, which would mean a loss of about $400,000 a year for the city.

To help offset that loss, the city's only option is to increase sewer and water rates.

"Now, the burden shifts to the city residents to pick up the cost," Szakacs said. "Until we know the actual volume Ventra will be using after the change, we don't know how high the rates will increase."

Current water rates are at $1.09 per 1,000 gallons, but could spike to between $2.57 to $3.57 per 1,000 gallons, he added.

Casey Keysor, council member and member of Evart's Sewer and Water Committee, said they are considering a meter fee based on the size of the water main along with a commodity fee. Water rates could increase to $2.30 per 1,000 gallons and sewer rates could increase to $6.67 per 1,000 gallons. Any price change will be presented to and voted on by Evart City Council, he added.