« Back to News & Notices

Van Buren Public Water and Sewer System Rate Increases effective April 1, 2024

City of Van Buren Public Water and Sewer System Rate Increases effective April 1, 2024


Arkansas Act 605 of 2021 for the Oversight of Retail Water Providers requires and establishes specific criteria for periodic rate studies "based on the guidelines of the American Water Works Association and the Water Environment Federation" and that "Rate Studies performed shall be an objective and unbiased review of the provider's fiscal status." 

The Rate Studies shall include: Reports containing the following information for the current year and projections for the next five years:

  1. A comprehensive cost analysis, including:
    1. Operations and maintenance (O&M) expenses;
    2. Financing expenses, including but not limited to debt service payments, bond issuance costs, and commercial paper fees, if applicable;
    3. Any required cash reserves unavailable to pay for expenses, including but not limited to the annual refurbishment and replacement account deposit requirement as set out in Ark. Code Ann. § 14-234-802(e);
    4. Depreciation expenses;
    5. Future capital expenses;
    6. Expenses required for an annual audit or agreed-upon procedures and compilation report;
    7. Expenses required for rate studies required under Code Ann. § 14-234-802; and
    8. Any other expenses not accounted for in paragraphs (a) through (g).

The new code tasks the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission with the oversight of the studies and specifies that "The Commission will maintain a list of approved entities to conduct rate studies as required." "  Furthermore; the Act 605 lists criteria that can result in a provider being placed in "Fiscal Distress" for failing to comply with the requirements of the rate study, training, and other requirements, possibly leading to further studies and actions.

The City of Van Buren Municipal Utilities has been working with Hawkins-Weir Engineers, Inc. (an "approved entity") to complete a comprehensive, Act 605 compliant Rate Study, which includes a five (5) year projected Capital Improvement Program of around $15 Million Dollars for needed Public Water System improvements and around $19 Million Dollars in needed Public Sewer System improvements.

Effective for services billed on or after April 1, 2024, the cost of Van Buren water and sewer for the average residential user at 4,000 gallons (the national average usage for calculating rate increase percentage) will increase by approximately 30% (Consumer Price Index increase since last rate increase in 2016 was approximately 26%), from approximately $49.39 to: around $64.28 for the average monthly bill, or approximately $2.11 per day for water and sewer services.

Residents using more than the average 4,000 gallons, Commercial, and Industrial user's cost of service will increase by approximately 40% to 60% based on the amount of water/sewer used.  This water rate increase does not include the increased cost of water purchased from the City of Fort Smith expected to be implemented in the near future.

Click on the links below to view/download a pdf file of the information.

Van Buren Water Rate Ordinance 06-2024

Van Buren Sewer Rate Ordinance 07-2024

Rules Implementing Arkansas Act 605 of 2021

Van Buren 2024 Water and Sewer Rate Increase Pamphlet

Van Buren Residential Water and Sewer Rate Increase 2024 Summary