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Billings proposes water-rate increase starting this summer

BILLINGS -The Billings Public Works Department is proposing a water rate increase in part to help fund a West End water reservoir.

Billings homeowners should have received a notice letter within the last week detailing the reasons for the proposed increase.

By July 1, 2020 a single-family household in Billings should expect to see an average increase of $4.62 per month on their water bill, and an average increase of $1.43 per month on their wastewater bill, if the proposal is approved.

Billings city taxes do not fund water or wastewater services. Those costs must be recovered through residents’ monthly fees.

The rate increase is broken up over two years.

On July 1, the average single-family home would see an increase of $2.80 per month on their water bill, and an average increase of $0.78 per month on their wastewater bill under the city’s proposal.

On top of that, on July 1, 2020, the average single-family home would see an additional increase of $1.82 per month on their water bill, and an average increase of $0.65 per month on their wastewater bill, if the proposal is approved.

The rate increase comes after a water and wastewater rate study that, “reviews the costs associated with providing high quality, consistent service to customers.”

The city conducts the rate study every two years.

According to the April 2019 Billings Public Works Department newsletter, the current water plant in the Heights is the only source of water for about 114,000 Billings residents.

The newsletter states, “During the high service summer months, if the plant goes down, we will only have about 8 to 10 hours before parts of Billings would be without water.”

These rate increases are not set in stone. Members of the public are encouraged to attend a public comment meeting on May 28 at 5:30 p.m. in the City Council chambers.

Written comments can also be submitted to the mayor, City Council, city clerk, or the Public Works Department.

Mitch Lagge

Mitch Lagge

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