City of Duluth apologizes after charging residents early for increased stormwater rates

Duluth News Tribune, Minn.
·1 min read

Feb. 17—The city of Duluth has issued an apology for charging residents in January at the increased stormwater rates, six months early.

"The City apologizes for this oversight," Chief Administrative Officer Noah Schuchman said in a news release. "Mistakes happen, and we are committed to fixing the error."

In the summer of 2020, the city originally proposed increasing the rates in January 2021, but the Duluth Public Utilities Commission requested delaying the increased rate to July 1, 2021, to give those experiencing financial hardships during the pandemic more time to prepare.

Now, due to the overcharge in January, the start date for increased rates has been pushed to August.

Homeowners currently pay $6.75 a month to the city in stormwater fees. The new rate will increase that monthly payment to $7.51 this year for an 11.25% increase. The rate will continue increasing by about 11.25% each year for the next six years until the rate is $12.80 in 2026.

"The increase in cost will raise funds that would be used for capital projects to prevent further deterioration of the stormwater system while maintaining its viability to serve the needs of those who use the system's users," the release said.

The city of Duluth's stormwater system includes more than 400 miles of pipe, 10,000 catch basins, 5,000 manholes and 2,500 culverts. The last time the city increased stormwater rates was in 2016.