Recently, the City of Lakeland contracted the University of Tennessee’s Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS) to conduct a sewer rate study. The previous study was done in 2017 and there was a need for an update according to city staff. The previous study set a cap on charges for residential customers using high volumes of water for lawn irrigation or agriculture, but this was found to be problematic by MTAS. Lakeland has acquired the sewer assets of the Stonebridge subdivision (previously maintained by Memphis) and Lakeland has two large sewer interceptor projects underway.
One of those projects is the much talked about Clear Creek Interceptor, a large sewer expansion project for the city. According to John Chlarson, an MTAS public works consultant, Lakeland has experienced a 30% increase in its customer base, and there is a need for ambitious capital improvements due to inflationary costs. Commercial rates will also change, and the new rates will charge commercial users based on their meter size. When the findings were presented Commissioner Jim Atkinson appreciated the study and the explanation provided but warned of public outcry during the summer months when water consumption increases. Vice Mayor Wesley Wright added that he feels it is necessary to implement the new rates presented by MTAS, but those who have requested to add a water meter would want to do so now.
If approved by the Board of Commissioners, the new rates for Lakeland residents, effective July 1, 2023, would be as follows:
Minimum Bill $27.92
Volumetric Rate $2.31/ccf