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The Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority board unanimously approved a 5% rate hike Wednesday.
Starting in August, typical residential customers will see an estimated $2.49 increase on their monthly water and sewer bills.
The increases are the first in four years.
Stan Allred, the utility’s chief financial officer, said the rate hike will help pay for rising fuel and chemical costs.
“A lot of this is due to supply chain issues and inflation,” Allred said.
Bills for such multi-family accounts as apartment complexes and condos will increase about $3.83. Such commercial spaces as offices, hotels and retail locations will see their costs rise by about $5.83.
Manufacturing facilities will see a $25.46 increase, and monthly bills will increase by about $11.77 for government buildings, hospitals and schools.
Two utility programs help customers who are unable to pay water and sewer bills.
The Water Assistance Fund is a one-time program to pay a monthly bill.
“Maybe somebody in the family got sick or they lost a job, or something, they can come to us and ask for assistance,” Allred said.
The utility also pays portions of bills for residents who are eligible for the low-income credit program.
Residents must be current on their water bills to qualify for the low-income credit, but can seek help from the Water Assistance Fund to catch up on payments.
The board also signed off on a $244.7 million budget for fiscal year 2023, up about $5.3 million from last year.
About $79.2 million in capital improvement projects will fund automated water meters, pipeline repairs, and water and sewer extensions for the Thunderbird Kirtland Development business park.
The utility finalized a water charge for Intel’s Rio Rancho plant expansion.
Intel is paying the water authority $32 million to build a 6-mile pipeline from two wells west of Universe Boulevard.
The company will filter nonpotable groundwater to clean silicon wafers for computer chips and a monthly charge of about $118,000 will begin once the utility starts delivering water.
Theresa Davis is a Report for America corps member covering water and the environment for the Albuquerque Journal.