TUCSON, AZ – After a series of meetings and public hearings, Tucson’s mayor and city council voted Jan. 11 to increase rates for Tucson Water and the Environmental and General Services Department (EGSD) to address rising costs and aging infrastructure.
According to the City Council, some rates have not been changed in more than a decade, even as the departments expanded their services.
EGSD is a self-supporting enterprise fund of the City of Tucson with rates and fees based on cost of service. The monthly residential rate for services was last increased in 2011. A recent cost of service study indicates that a rate increase is necessary to maintain current service levels and ensure that the department can meet future costs required for landfill closure and groundwater protection.
Over the past 12 years, EGSD has implemented operational changes to reduce costs and has deferred capital improvement projects, however, with new challenges each year, the ES Fund has become unsustainable. The proposed rate increases would be implemented over two fiscal years.
Water rates will increase by 5.5% each year for the next four years at the beginning of the new fiscal year, effective July 1, 2023, but rates will be reviewed each year. The CAP surcharge will also increase by 30 cents per 100 cubic feet of water (CCF) beginning in February in response to the current drought on the Colorado River.
The Mayor and Council also approved increasing EGSD’s rates for garbage and recycling collection from $16.75 to $20 per month effective February 13, 2023, for customers using the most common 95-gallon containers.
A second adjustment will occur on January 1, 2024 to $23 per month, following a review by the City Council at the end of 2023 to confirm that the increase remains justified. A 10% across-the-board adjustment for all commercial rates will go into effect on July 1, 2023.