VINELAND — City Council voted 4-0 Tuesday to authorize a 10 percent increase in local water utility rates.
The rates, scheduled to begin next month, will help bolster the city water utility’s finances and prevent the utility from essentially operating in the red.
No residents spoke about the increase that accompanied final action by City Council on the ordinance.
Under the new rate structure, residential customers using an average of 8,419 gallons of water a month will pay $22.22. That payment represents a monthly increase of $2.02, city officials said.
This is the third time in three years that the city authorized a rate increase to bolster the water utility’s finances. The previous two increases occurred on March 1, 2011, and Jan. 2, 2012.
City officials said earlier that water utility revenues for fiscal year 2012 were $232,000 less than projected. Expenses for that period were also $190,000 more than actual water utility revenues of $6.6 million, they said.
The city’s water utility also made significant upgrades in water quality during the past few years, local officials said. They said that water tanks are being flushed and cleaned more frequently.
Those improvements have helped to increase water utility costs, city officials said.
In other business, City Council voted 4-0 to ask the state Division of Local Government Services to extend the April 26 deadline by which council must adopt the municipal budget.
The city wants permission to adopt the local budget by May 14.
Local officials said they need the extension in part to determine how a recent revaluation will impact the fiscal plan and to give the new city government administration more time to develop the budget. Mayor Ruben Bermudez and City Council members took office in January.
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