The Butte City Council discussed a proposal Wednesday that would increase wastewater rates by as much as 40% by 2017.
The Butte Wastewater Treatment Plant is in the second phase of construction. Public Works estimates this last phase will cost $30 million.
Unlike previous phases of the project, they have not received any grant money from the government. They told NBC Montana they attribute the lack of funding to the sequester. That's why rates will increase from $20.25 per month to $28.50 per month by 2017. Now it is up to City Council to decide whether those rates should be increased incrementally or all at once.
Joyce Rautio, a Butte resident, said she does not want the rates to increase, but said, "if they're absolutely going to do it, they need to do it a little bit at a time. Don't do it all at once 'cause that's going to hurt a lot of people."
Public Works officials said they are doing the construction because of the "Voluntary Nutrient Reduction Program" that aims to prevent excess nutrients from going into the creek, which create algae blooms that are harmful to wildlife.