Augusta is on the low end of the price range when it comes to sewer rates.

Of all of the utilities, none varies as much in price and the formula used to determine that price as wastewater treatment.

Total sewage treatment prices have to factor in hookup rates, prices for capital expenses to pay for new lines and facilities, and of course the variable rates per thousand gallons treated.

Augusta’s City Council voted 5-2 - with Matt Malone and Mike Huddleston in opposition - Monday night to raise Augusta’s minimum monthly rate from $7 per month to $9.50 per month.

City Manager Bill Keefer said the extra funds are needed to ay for an additional employee in that department as well as an increase in maintenance costs due to an aging treatment plant and insurance claims against the city.

Hookup fees for cities in south central Kansas range from $2,080 in Andover to $75 in Newton. According to information compiled by Josh Shaw, Assistant to the City Manager, the average hookup fee is about $845. Augusta is on the low end at $250 to hook up to the city’s sewer system.

Augusta is also on the low end of the price range when it comes to rates. Even with capital fees and electricity costs built in, Augusta charges only $28.11 for 1000 gallons. Those fees range from $5.30 in Haysville to $50.87 in Rose Hill.

The range is almost always attributable to which cities have been forced by KDHE to build new treatment plants – like Augusta did about a decade ago – and have had to pass those capital costs along to customers.

“We try not to move the rates of any of our utilities very often,” Keefer said. “Obviously, it is unusual that we are adjusting trash and sewer at the same time.”

Keefer said the additional person in the department will help with maintenance issues that are developing as the lines and treatment plant begin to show their age.