Mitchell City Council to consider raising water, sewer rates for residents under equitable structure

The water base rate hike for a home or business with a 1-inch meter would mark an increase of $3.79 from the current $9.21 monthly base rate and a 95-cent per unit increase

Mitchell water tower.jpg
The city of Mitchell's water tower along Interstate 90.
Republic file photo

MITCHELL — The Mitchell City Council will consider approving a new water and sewer rate structure on Monday that would raise rates for both services beginning in early June.

Under the new proposed equitable rate structure, a home with a 1-inch water meter — a typical size for a Mitchell home — would see its monthly water base rate increase to $13 with a $5.10 per unit charge on June 1. The water base rate hike for a home or business with a 1-inch meter would mark an increase of $3.79 from the current $9.21 monthly base rate and a 95-cent per unit increase.

A business with a 3-inch meter would be charged a $78 monthly base rate and $5.10 per unit fee.

Sewer base rates would also increase $7.04 on June 1 for all Mitchell residents, rising to $29.05 per month. The existing monthly base rate for city sewer services is $22.01.

“We’re using more water than we are guaranteed to have access to now," said City Administrator Stephanie Ellwein.

Over the past few months, city leaders have been mulling over water and sewer rate increases. The proposed rate structure that the council will consider during the 6 p.m. Monday meeting at City Hall is a product of a study conducted by an engineering firm. HDR Engineering, the firm that studied Mitchell’s water and sewer rates, pitched the equitable structure to reflect usage and the size of residents’ water meters.


The key factors behind the city’s proposed water and sewer rate increases are providing sufficient revenue to fund ongoing and upcoming infrastructure projects like the roughly $30 million improvements planned for the wastewater treatment plants and other future projects. In addition, the city’s pursuit of a $60 million secondary water source with Fort Randall Community Water District is also driving proposed water rate hikes.

To get a clearer picture on what the proposed increases would look like for a home with one resident vs. a home with roughly four people, the city provided examples. In 2023, City Administrator Stephanie Ellwein said a one unit user’s bill — combining water and sewer rates — would jump from the current amount of $55.03 to $66.81. By the end of 2024, a one unit user’s bill would rise to $74.36. One unit consists of 750 gallons of water and sewer per month.

For a three unit user, which equates to 2,250 gallons of water and sewer, rates would jump from the current $70 to $83.81 in 2023.

Consent agenda

The following items will be considered as part of the consent agenda:

  • Approve the minutes and reports from the Feb. 21 council meeting.
  • Approve committee reports.
  • Approve automatic supplements.
  • Approve 2022 annual report.
  • Approve South Dakota Department of transportation grant application.
  • Approve special event permits for the following: Corn Palace Shrine Circus on April 23; First Fridays on Main from May through September; Memorial Weekend in Mitchell; Oktoberfest on Sept. 30; Parade of Lights on Nov. 28.
  • Approve raffle permits.
  • Approve volunteer board appointment: Ben Kalovsky to the Business Improvement District Board for a term to run from Jan. 2023 to Dec. 2025.
  • Approve change order to A-G-E Corporation for landfill cell No. 4 construction. 
  • Approve gas and fuel quotes.
  • Approve pay estimates.
  • Approve bills, payroll, salary adjustments, new employee hires, authorization of recurring payments and other expenses.

Other business

  • Recite pledge of allegiance and receive invocation from Resurrection Lutheran Church.
  • Hear citizens input.
  • Meet as Board of Adjustment.
  • Set the date for the following hearing: Mar. 20, Jay Schreurs has applied for a variance permit for a combination of attached and detached accessory buildings of 2,704 square feet vs. 2,000 square feet to build a new detached accessory building of 1,920 square feet, located at 1800 Charles Ave., legally described as Lots 8 & 9, Block 5 of Woods First Addition, in the city of Mitchell. The property is zoned High Density Residential District (R4).
  • Reconvene as city council. 
  • Approve proposal for minnow removal at the city’s wastewater lagoons.
  • Approve awarding bid for water main distribution system improvements project. 
  • Approve awarding bid for street shop fuel storage tank replacement.
  • Approve transfer of entitlements for the airport pavement maintenance project.
  • Approve amendment for construction services of Livesay Lane Utility Improvement project. 
  • Approve joint powers agreement with Attorney General’s Office and Mitchell Police Department for drug task enforcement.
  • Approve agreement to hire engineering services for Cadwell Park Booster station with SPN and Associates.
  • Hold hearing and take action on a tax increment financing district for the 300 N. Main St. building in downtown Mitchell.
  • Hear presentation of the city’s mast transportation plan.
Sam Fosness joined the Mitchell Republic in May 2018. He was raised in Mitchell, S.D., and graduated from Mitchell High School. He continued his education at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, where he graduated in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in English. During his time in college, Fosness worked as a news and sports reporter for The Volante newspaper.
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