City commissioners on Monday approved a revised set of rates and charges for utility water services charged by the city of Madison. These include an increased monthly surcharge that will help pay for water system improvements currently planned and under way in Madison, offset by a lower base rate, so that there is no increase this year in fixed fees.

City water customers using the smallest water meters of 5/8 and 3/4 inches will pay a monthly bill of $16.56 as a base rate and $10.04 as a surcharge for a total of $26.60. Most residential customers should receive those monthly charges. There is also a volume rate based on the number of cubic feet of water used.

The city has a water rate chart that uses meter sizes as categories. Madison officials utilize a charge chart with eight meter sizes.

For the largest meter size -- typically used by industrial customers -- the 4-inch meters have a monthly base rate of $522.02 and a monthly surcharge of $371.02, providing a total bill of $893.04.

The new ordinance broke down into separate elements the three payments within the monthly surcharge. The new surcharge of $10.04 for residential customers had 69 cents assigned to paying for Lewis & Clark-related expenses, $3.83 directed toward a 2013 bond that raised money for water treatment plant improvements, and $5.52 intended to pay off a USDA-Rural Development bond.

For a 4-inch water meter customer, the monthly surcharge was broken down to $25.34 for Lewis & Clark, $141.71 for the water treatment plant bond, and $203.97 for the USDA-RD bond.

The ordinance also states, "in addition to the above base rate, all services after the first service that are connected to a master meter shall be charged a base rate of $13.14 per dwelling unit plus a surcharge of $4.96 per dwelling unit."

The base rate for those customers increased from $4.23 per month to $13.14 per month, an $8.91 increase. The monthly surcharge for those customers also rose from $4.58 per month to $4.96 per month, a 38-cent increase.

All water customers who live outside the city limits but use Madison's water utility will pay an additional 50% more on their water bills for the service.

The charge for bulk tank loads of water will decrease from $5 per 1,000 gallons to $3 per 1,000 gallons.

Spring election

The commissioners approved a proposal to set April 13 as the date of Madison's next municipal election.

The three-year terms of Commissioners Mike Waldner and Bob Thill expire in 2021.

The commissioners also approved having finance office staff send an invitation to the Madison Central School District to hold a joint election. Madison Central could have contested races this spring for two school board seats. The current terms for Madison School Board members Steve Nelson and Lori Schultz expire in 2021.

The Madison board members also serve three-year terms.

Holding joint elections is a typical occurrence for the city and the local school board. The two local governments can share election expenses.