Lander approves ‘incremental’ increase to water, wastewater utility rates

    The Lander City Council approved a utility rate increase for water and wastewater services during a regular meeting last week.

    City treasurer Charri Lara said the rate hike will result in a $3.50 monthly increase for most users – or about $42.50 annually.

    ‘A cup of coffee’

    Councilmember John Larsen called the change “absolutely minimal.”


    “I realize there are people that are on fixed incomes, (but) my goodness, that’s a cup of coffee,” he said. “We’re shooting ourselves in the foot for future funding if we don’t carry forward with that.”

    Councilmember Julia Stuble agreed that the city needs “this kind of incremental increase” in utility rates in order to accomplish the “incredible amount of projects” planned for the municipal water and wastewater systems in the future to address “the legacy we have of deferred maintenance.”

    “I’m glad to be part of a city that is looking ahead (and) doing that planning,” she said. “I suspect that wasn’t always true. … That’s why we’re in the situation now, (with) 40 miles of 30-year-old pipe.”

    Councilmember Missy White pointed out that the rate increase will generate an additional $140,000 for the city annually – enough to cover the cost of repairing one or two water line breaks.


    “When you really look at the expense of responding to situations, let alone trying to maintain and replace things, it is a very expensive endeavor,” White said. “There are miles and miles of (old) pipes that all need to be replaced. … It’s going to be a big undertaking.”

    She also encouraged people on fixed incomes to take advantage of the discounted water rates available for low-income residents.

    “There will be some for whom this becomes an increased burden, (but) I think we have a reasonable plan in place to be able to help those folks,” White said. “We have to keep up with our infrastructure.”


    Councilmember Dan Hahn expressed support for the rate hike as well, but he added that he would like the city to prioritize maintenance of existing infrastructure “before we extend into zones outside of town.”

    For more information call the City of Lander at 332-2870.


    Related Posts

    Have a news tip or an awesome photo to share?