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Public Works

Posted on: January 3, 2023

Informational Open Houses Set as Part of City Water Utility Rate Update

2023 Utility Rate Update Social Media GraphicThe City of Bismarck is examining water utility rate update options that could be accepted later this year and potentially in place for 2024. 


Water and sewer consumption is part of the variable cost that is built into each month’s utility billing. Water consumption is based on the number of units of water used. This monthly bill includes charges for a variety of utilities: 


  • Water minimum
  • Water consumption
  • Sewer minimum
  • Sewer consumption
  • Storm sewer
  • Sewer backup protection
  • Curb stop repair on qualified accounts
  • Street and traffic light maintenance
  • Utility account processing
  • Waste collection
  • Late fees

“About four years ago the City went to a tiered payment structure and now we are examining how that structure is working for the City of Bismarck and its residents,” said City Commissioner Greg Zenker, who is also the Public Works Utility Operations portfolio holder. “This time around, we are looking at a few different options: a similar tiered fee structure, a smaller tiered structure, or ways we could potentially apply a flat rate approach to utility billing. At this point, staff and commissioners are at the beginning of what is going to be a conversation that is very much going to be driven by the input we receive from the community.” 


A pair of open-house-style informational sessions will be held in Bismarck at the end of January and the beginning of February: 


  • Tuesday, January 31, 2023 
    1. Horizon Middle School Cafetorium (500 Ash Coulee Drive) 
    2. 4:30 PM to 7 PM. 
  • Wednesday, February 1, 2023
    1. Wachter Middle School Cafetorium (1107 South Seventh Street) 
    2. 4:30 PM to 7 PM. 

A Utility Rate Update webpage has been created with a variety of information to help interested individuals begin to make their decision on how to move forward with the utility rates. The page includes a survey that will be available to the public, beginning Monday, January 30, 2023, through Sunday, February 12, 2023. A paper version of the survey will also be available at the public information open houses to collect feedback.  


“As Commissioners, we can’t stress enough how important feedback from our community is on this topic,” said Zenker. “We don’t want to go through this process, make and implement a decision, and hear from a group of people who wanted to weigh in but didn’t. If you want your opinion counted and if you want a say in how we move forward, the survey and the open houses are your way.” 


The current tiered structure used by the City of Bismarck was put into place in 2018 and was reflected in billing in 2019. 

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