Residents of Newton railed against an increase in water rates that went into affect in July.


Residents of Newton railed against an increase in water rates that went into affect in July.

The city rate for water is $10.75 base fee, including 200 cubic feet of water, and then $5.95 for each additional 100 cubic feet. The previous rate was $10.75 base fee, including 300 cubic feet of water, and $3.45 for each additional 100 cubic feet.

The rate increases were needed to pay for water-system infrastructure improvements, including a new water tower that went up this summer.

The city formed a task force to review the rates.

The task force recommended to the city commission to hire a consultant to review the water rates.

Included in their recommendations to the consultant were:

Consider rates that would encourage conservation.

Consider reevaluation of the minimum rate structure.

Create water rates that would be competitive with surrounding communities and competitive enough to promote economic development.

Consider implementing an incremental annual increase to allow for a 20-percent reduction in 2010 and 2011.