The rates for charges you will find on your utility bill are set in various ways.
Water Water Rate File
The water rates and the rules and regulations are adopted by the Council and approved and on file with the Public Service Commission.
Like most businesses, water rates are set taking into consideration normal operating expenses such as labor, fuel and a return on capital investments used to buy equipment—costs for providing water to homes and businesses. Unlike most businesses, Wisconsin's largest utilities are a state-regulated monopoly. In return for monopoly status, utilities have an obligation to serve all customers. The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) regulates these utilities and their rates. When a utility requests a rate change, the PSC reviews the request. Based on a PSC audit and customer testimony in public hearings, the PSC sets utility rates.
Water rates include an amount that is based on a rate of return for shareholders up to an amount capped by the PSCW. If the year does not go as well as expected, utilities earn less than the amount authorized. If the year is better than expected, they earn more. The rate of return for shareholders is not guaranteed but does depend on how well a utility operates. Rates are reviewed annually or more frequently if deemed necessary.
The City Council establishes user charges to generate sufficient revenue to offset the total cost of operation and maintenance, debt retirement and previous year's operating debt of its wastewater treatment facility and operation and maintenance of the wastewater pumping stations. The user costs are distributed proportionately among users and user classes. The costs are reviewed and rates adjusted by the Council on an annual basis, or more frequently if deemed necessary.
The storm water fee finances the City’s Storm Water Management Program and compliance with the Wisconsin Pollution Discharge Elimination System permit. The fee is based on the amount of runoff that is generated by different land uses within the City.
Wisconsin Statute 287 mandates that communities over 5,000 provide for curbside recycling services. On October 5, 2010, the City Council approved charging residents for recycling services directly on their utility bill. Recycling charges cover the cost of providing curbside recycling services to single family to four-plex homes. Charges for tri-plex and four-plex homes are billed directly to the property owner unless the property is individually metered.