Beatrice Board of Public Works holding to no electric rate increase

BEATRICE – If public works budgets are approved in Beatrice as planned, local residents won’t see an electric rate increase, keeping a record alive of no increases since 2015.

Small, consumption-based increases in water and sewer service are proposed. The Beatrice Board of Public Works Thursday reviewed proposed budgets for the next biennium, beginning in October.

BPW Manager Tobias Tempelmeyer says an electric rate study to be presented to the city council proposes a net of no increase.
"Decrease summer rates a little bit...increase winter rates a little bit. At the end of the day, the impact on the electric department revenues is a net decrease of $359.....out of $15 million."

Water rates in the city would go up 10-cents per thousand gallons used.  "So, for the average customer, that would increase about 48-cents a month."

The last time the water rate was increased was in 2016. The sewer rate has a proposed increase of 25-cents per-thousand gallons usage in each of the next two budget years.  "It would be an increase of about 67-cents per month for the average residential customer."

Tempelmeyer says the small water and sewer rates have been proposed because of an increase in costs of material and labor. Most utility department budgets will see similar revenue and expense levels that have been seen in the past. The electric department budget will be earning back reserves lost during this past winter’s rolling blackouts, during an extremely cold arctic blast.

The Beatrice Board of Public Works will consider approving and sending the utility and street budgets to the Beatrice City Council in two weeks. Following council approval, rate ordinances would then come before both bodies.