After previously making it a priority to evaluate rate increases on an annual basis to keep revenue in line with expenses, the Manchester City Council unanimously passed the first of three required readings that will raise utility and garbage collection rates at its Nov. 23 meeting.

Mayor Milt Kramer explained the council and city staff have found it preferable to do small rate increases every year rather than kicking the can down the road and doing a large increase every few years. This way, he said, residents can plan ahead when budgeting.

The council is considering flat-rate increases to the city’s water rate by 2%, the sewer rate by 1% and increasing solid waste collection fees by 65 cents.

New proposed rates include raising the water base rate to $6.16 (currently $6.04), water per-1,000-gallon rate to $3.27 ($3.15), sewer base rate $11.30 ($11.19), sewer per-1,000-gallon rate $6.25 ($6.19) and solid waste collection rate $12.25 ($11.60).

According to the documentation provided by the city, for an individual that uses 3,000 gallons of water per month, their bill would increase by $1.42. For a family that averages 6,000 gallons of water per month, their bill would increase by $2.02.

City Clerk Erin Learn said if the council passes the next two readings and get the notice published immediately after that, the new fee structure would likely be seen on the utility bill sent out at the end of January 2021.

The council also passed the first reading of an ordinance that would require contractors to renew their licensing annually instead of biannually.

The city made the change to biannual in 2012 with the hopes of saving staff processing time and providing some other bureaucratic efficiencies, however, City Manager Tim Vick said things, unfortunately, did not work the way they were hoping.

Vick added that if the council moves back to an annual basis, the fee will still be $25 per-year and annual registrations will expire Dec. 31 of each year.