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Fees were reduced from initial proposal.
(Published Apr 12, 2013)
The House Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture Finance Committee completed work on their budget bill (HF 976), Rep. Wagenius, DFL-Minneapolis) on April 10 and the bill was passed by the Ways and Means committee on April 12. The package included an increase to water appropriation fees by $6.1 million per year, down from an initial proposal that would have raised more than $7 million per year. Based on 2010 water use data, the fee would generate an additional $2.15 million from water appropriation fees on municipal systems and an additional $1.45 million from summer water use surcharges. Agricultural irrigation and golf courses would see their rates increase by $725,000 and $425,000 respectively. The remaining $1.4 million would come from increases to various industrial permits.
Residential water use fees would be set at $15 per million gallons. The size of the system no longer changes the base fee. Non-agricultural irrigation is charged $70 per million gallons. Agricultural irrigation would be billed at $22 per million gallons and other water uses will be charged $30 per million gallons. The summer surcharge rate paid on the difference between summer water use and January water use is set at $75 per million gallons. The proposal expands the summer surcharge window to include May and September in addition to the current June, July and August time period.
The Senate budget bill has not been put together, yet, but draft language released on April 11 does not include a fee increase. Work on that bill will occur on Monday, April 15.
The proposal is meant to significantly increase annual funding to the Department of Natural Resources’ water management account for the following uses:
• $800,000 for compliance monitoring, education, and enforcement of appropriation permits;
• $500,000 for contracts with SWCD or local governments for water level monitoring;
• $660,000 for surface water monitoring to measure interaction with groundwater;
• $2,800,000 for groundwater and surface water cumulative impact assessment, regional monitoring of cumulative impacts, and well interference assistance;
• $200,000 for updated precipitation analysis; and,
• $400,000 for electronic permitting, data integration and water use data availability.
The Cities Bulletin will include an update on this issue on Monday that will include updated spreadsheets estimating impacts on each city, a summary of the impacts on all types of permit holders, and a fact sheet from DNR discussing the proposal as it relates to city water utilities.
Questions? Contact Craig Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (651) 281-1259.
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