The Tempe City Council voted earlier this month to suspend planned rate increases for water and sewer bills for 2017.
As part of a 2015 study of water, sewer and solid waste utilities, the City Council had approved utility rate increases in each of two years. The first increase went into effect at the beginning of 2016. In suspending rate hike scheduled to take effect Jan. 1, the council decided to examine the impact of this year's rate hikes on various residential customers and to find ways to encourage water conservation among customers using the most.
The suspended rate hikes would have meant a 4.75 percent water rate increase and a 2.5 percent increase in sewer bills. Meanwhile, the rate increase for solid waste will go on as planned, resulting in an average extra 60 cents per month for single-family residences.
Tempe's rate structure is designed to encourage water conservation.
Rate studies take place every two years, with the next scheduled for March. The study will include opportunities for public input. The increases help pay for replacement of aging infrastructure, among other necessities.