What's News in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin
Sewer Utility Rate
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In response to an analysis of the financial condition of Pleasant Prairie’s Sewer Utility, an increase in sewer utility rates has been authorized in order to maintain the financial stability of the Utility. For an average Pleasant Prairie residence that discharges 6,000 gallons per month to the sanitary sewer, the increase will amount to approximately $4.54 per month or 10.62%. For residential customers in the Town of Somers that receive sewer service from Pleasant Prairie, the rate will increase by approximately 38.3%.
The accounting firm Baker Tilly proposed the new rates as part of their analysis of the financial condition of the Utility. Baker Tilly’s analysis indicated that current rates will not cover annual operating and maintenance expenses of $3.3 million, of which 66% or $2.2 million is paid to the Kenosha Water Utility annually for wastewater treatment. The remaining $1.1 million is used to clean and repair 134 miles of sewer mains; 2,843 manholes; and 5,592 sewer laterals and to operate 17 sanitary sewer lift stations that run around the clock, 365 days per year.
The Utility currently holds a cash reserve of $2.3 million. Of this amount, $1.8 million, however, is restricted by the Wisconsin Department of Natural resources for equipment replacement and capital projects, leaving only $500,000 in useable reserve. Baker Tilly deemed this insufficient for the Utility to operate with.
As of December 31, 2010, the Village has closed its final two sewer treatment plants in compliance with a return flow agreement that allows the western half of the Village to access drinking water from Lake Michigan. Access to Lake Michigan water became necessary after high levels of Radium (a naturally occurring carcinogen) were found in groundwater wells in the Village during the early 1980’s. The closure of the two remaining sewer treatment plants is the main reason for the rate increase. The Village is now 100% dependent upon the Kenosha Water Utility for treatment of discharge through the sanitary sewer.