Kalispell considers updating sewer, water rates

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The Kalispell City Council will hold a work session this evening to discuss a study of the city’s water and sewer rates. The meeting will include an overview of the process of analyzing the city’s current rates in order to propose updated utility rates.

The Public Works Department is partnering with HDR Engineering to undertake a water and sewer rate study. Staff reports indicate that the study aims “to recommend rates that generate adequate funds to maintain the same quality of service and fund capital projects to meet the current and future water and sewer needs of our community.”

According to the report, the overall rate design must take into consideration a variety of financial and rate policy factors. Therefore, the rate study will incorporate analyses of the cost of service and revenue requirements, as well as the development of an appropriate corresponding rate structure.

At tonight’s meeting, there will be a presentation to break down this complex process.

The council will review various financial and rate-setting policies, and will discuss recommendations for implementing the new rates.

According to the meeting agenda, some of these relevant policies include: “capital improvement funding from rates, funding renewal and replacements from rates, level of cash vs. debt financing of capital projects, minimum target reserve levels and other miscellaneous policy recommendations.”

In other business, the work session will also focus on ongoing conversations about the CORE Area trail design.

The council reviewed the trail design for the CORE Area at the July 22 work session. The ongoing conversation about the trail design is intended to incorporate additional topics related to the design that have come up since the previous work session.

The council considered the 30% trail design plan on July 22 as well, and this design report will also be open to further discussion at tonight’s meeting. The design plan outlines funding, placement and a tentative timeline for 1.6 miles of the trail in Glacier Rail Park.

There will also be time to hear comments from the public on these or other issues during the work session.

The work session will take place at 7 p.m. in the City Council Chambers, 201 1st Ave. East.

Reporter Bret Anne Serbin may be reached at bserbin@dailyinterlake.com or 758-4459.

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