We’ve been holding our rates down for as long as we responsibly can. If we don’t seek a funding increase, we will not be able to maintain the same level of service and will not be able to make necessary investments in infrastructure renewal.
Utilities are enterprise funds, so income from rates must stay within the utility.
We hired a consultant to crunch the numbers to keep the increases as low as possible while ensuring we can still provide services, comply with regulations, and achieve our long-term goals. (See the links to the individual facility plans under the Documents section of this page.)
The consultant analyzed our current needs as well as future needs as the city continues to grow.
- American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds are designated for capital projects only, not operations.
- We applied for ARPA competitive funding for several projects but received funding for a stormwater project only.
- We would've needed to raise the rates even higher had the the City not received ARPA minimum allocation grants to pay for a series of capital projects.
- Our property purchases are related to specific functions (areas where we will need to drill new water wells in the future) or to solve problems (Flynn-Lowney Ditch—don’t have to install culverts, removes force damaging riverbank next to City infrastructure, benefits to river health and fisheries—helps the city’s economy) that would be costly if not addressed.
- Utilities are enterprise funds, so they are self-funded through the collection of utility rates and fees. Money from the general fund is not used to operate the utilities.
We currently have a discount for our low-income water customers through the LIEAP (Low-Income Energy Assistance Program), which is administered through the Missoula office of the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS).
The state of Montana DPHHS is currently working on a low-income household assistance program to help with water and wastewater bills. Contact the Human & Community Services Division (HCSD) for more information.
Why is the City seeking utility rate increases?
How did you determine what the rates should be?
Why doesn't the City uses ARPA money instead of raising rates?
Why does the City keep buying properties if the utilities need more money?
What if I can't afford these utility rate increases?