Kingsford to raise water, sewer costs on July 1
City will also begin billing each month
KINGSFORD — Kingsford residents will pay more for city water and sewer starting July 1.
The council Monday approved going from $49.95 a month to $73.19 a month per household, based on 5,000 gallon of use. This is still lower than a state rate study, done five years ago, that showed other water and sewer services in the Upper Peninsula averaging $94.80 per month, City Manager Mike Stelmaszek said.
“We have 100-year-old water pipes. We’re way lower than other places in the area,” Councilman Joe Groeneveld said.
Councilman Mick Flaminio credited Stelmaszek with keeping the increase in check, noting “rates were projected to be much higher than this — some based on misinformation. He was able to lower it to what we need.”
Stelmaszek said the increases will help finance the upcoming Heights water main project, address the state mandate to replace lead lines and galvanized lines from the main to inside the house and fund other upcoming water and sewer work, plus increases from operational costs and septage imposed by the Kingsford/Iron Mountain Joint Sewage Authority.
Incremental yearly increases will also be needed to provide for the initial smaller increase than recommended in the water and sewer rate studies done by the Michigan Rural Water Association to address these same issues, Stelmaszek said. To help manage for these increases, the city will transition from a two-month billing cycle to a monthly utility billing cycle, also starting July 1.
For residents with a financial hardship who become in arrears in their payments, the city does participate in a Michigan Department of Human Services low-income household program for utility costs.
The council also agree to increase the monthly garbage rate by $1, from $13 to $14. Dickinson County Solid Waste Management Authority’s tipping fees has increased from $71 a ton to $80 since 2020, Stelmaszek said.
Stelmaszek also announced the city has hired Jason Gendron and Adam Grailer as sanitation employees.
In other business, the council:
— Learned Lt. Tom Bolda has submitted his retirement after 27 years with the Kingsford Public Safety Department. Public Safety Director Brian Metres thanked Bolda for his service, saying Bolda has volunteered to do everything in the department, even some tasks no one else wanted to do. “He earned every bit of his salary and has worn every hat,” Metres said. “He is knowledgeable of everything and it will be hard to fill his shoes. We’re lucky to have had him as long as we did. He’s one of the hardest-working individuals I know.”
— Approved the annual request to close roads around the Kingsford High School stadium for the All U.P. Track meet on June 4.