Wellington, Colorado's residential monthly water usage ranks the highest among cities the East Larimer County Water District (ELCO) serves, averaging around $100 per month. Wellington, north of Fort Collins, is part of ELCO's 53-mile service area. The area presents challenges due to its high population growth and limited water supplies. To meet those challenges, ELCO has had to raise its rate six times in 19 years, the last one in 2008.
The rate increase enacted in January 2010 hiked average residential rates from $406 to $457 annually, a 12 percent spike. The latest rate hike breaks down into an average of 13,333 gallons used per residence per month, at an average monthly rate of $38.08 each month, a $7 hike from the average 2008 monthly bill of $31.08.
A 3/4" meter provides up to 4,000 gallons of water each month for residential customers, according to ELCO's December 2009 newsletter. The minimum monthly charge with the rate hike became $16.97, up from $15.66. After the first 4,000 gallons of water usage, ELCO charged $2.27 per 1,000 gallons, up from $1.95 per 1,000 gallons. After the annual water allotment per residence is exceeded, consumers are charged a conservation fee of $1.93 per 1,000 gallons of water used, which is unchanged from 2009.
Bills are sent to ELCO customers near the 20th of each month and are due 30 days from the billing date. Billing statements include all current and previous unpaid fees. If payment is not remitted on time, a $6 late fee is assessed and a tag is placed on the door. If payment is not rendered by noon the day after the tag is delivered, water services will be shut off. Around 20 customers each month had their water service shut off in 2006.
The local government-based water utility had 6 full-time employees as of March, 2007. The average full-time annual wage of those employees was $44,620.
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