Simplified: The City of Sioux Falls is looking to increase utility rates for four out of five city-run utilities. Here's a look at what the proposed changes could cost you over the next several years.

Why it matters

  • The city oversees five separate utilities: water purification, water reclamation, storm drainage, the sanitary landfill, and city light and power. All but one (city light and power) are expected to see rate increases in the coming years, according to a four-year plan presented to the City Council on Tuesday.
  • These rate increases are needed both to keep up with increasing costs to provide utilities and to ensure Sioux Falls has the capacity it needs to service everyone as the city grows, Public Works Director Mark Cotter said.
  • The financial impact varies, but the average homeowner can expect to be paying about $190 more annually on utilities in 2027 than they are in 2023.  
"These increases reflect the minimum revenue requirements to keep each utility funded and operational," Cotter told councilors on Tuesday.

Show me the numbers

Here's a breakdown of what increases you can expect based on average usage.

  • It's worth noting that these numbers will vary person-to-person and household-to-household. If you use less water, you'll pay less, and if you use more, you'll pay more. These are just averages.
  • It's also worth noting that these increases have not yet been approved by the City Council. This is just a proposal.

Water purification

These numbers are based on an average monthly use of 5,200 gallons.

  • Rates would increase 6% in 2024, 5% in 2025, and 4% in both 2026 and 2027.
  • So, with that average usage, a person would be paying $29.54/month (or about $355 annually) in 2023.
  • That same customer, assuming the same usage, would be paying $35.53 per month in 2027 (or about $426 annually) for water purification.

Water reclamation (aka Sewer)

These numbers are based on an average monthly use of 4,600 gallons.

  • Rates would increase 6% in both 2024 and 2025, and then increases will be 5% for both 2026 and 2027.
  • So, a person paying $37.89 per month in 2023 will be paying $46.92 per month in 2027 for the same usage.

Storm drainage

This is one that will apply to property owners. So if you're renting, it probably won't impact you.

  • Storm drainage is charged bi-annually and appears on your county property taxes.
  • Rates would increase 4% annually through 2026, and then drop to a 3% increase in 2027.
  • It amounts to about an extra $0.20 per month on average.

Sanitary landfill

This one will really only affect you if you're taking stuff out to the landfill regularly, but it is possible that higher landfill costs could then trickle into the bills from your private garbage hauler.

  • Costs will increase $2 per ton of solid waste in 2024, with another $1.50 per ton in both 2025 and 2026, and another $1 per ton increase in 2027.

What happens next?

The utility rate increases will go before the City Council on June 6 with a second reading set for June 20.

  • If passed, these rates will take effect Jan. 1, 2024.