In mid-December Shawnee City Commissioners unanimously voted for a hike in utility rates and added fees to some of the city's services. New fee changes become effective in February — which is next weekend.

What this means is that most residents are going to see a monthly maintenance fee added to their bill, which will vary depending on the size of their meter(s) — for most it will be $6; for larger (typically commercial) meters, there will be an increase of $7 to $34 each month. The new fee is an effort to gather needed funding to install smart meters throughout the city.

Also, for residents issued a cutoff notice, a $5 fee will be added to their bill.

Most other new fees passed by city commissioners involve service calls, after-hours connection service, processing, transfers or deposits.

Fees (Effective Feb. 1, 2019)

• Implementation of a $5 fee for issuing a customer a cutoff notice. Assistant City Manager and Treasurer Chance Allison said the city has an average of 1,500 residents each month who don't pay their water bills until a cutoff notice has been issued.

“This will be an incentive for them to pay their bills earlier,” he said.

• A monthly meter maintenance fee will be charged to each account for the maintenance of meters.

The fee for residents will add a $6 charge per month per meter.

Commercial fees vary depending on the size of the meter:

— For a 3/4-inch meter to 1-inch meter, there will be an added $6 to the monthly bill;

— 1.5-inch meter is $7;

— 2-inch meter is $9;

— 3-inch meter is $13;

— 4-inch meter is $17;

— 5-inch meter is $21;

— 6-inch meter is $25; and

— 8-inch meter is $34

• A rescheduling fee of $25 will be charged in the event that a service call has to be adjusted.

Allison said the goal is to deter missed appointments.

“Residents are required to be at home when the water department comes,” he said. The costs tied to repeated trips to a residence — and time and manpower — should be alleviated by this fee, Allison said.

• Adoption of an after-hours connection service fee of $50.

• There will be a $25 fee for transfer of service.

• The fee for water service will be a $75 deposit. Previously, charges for a deposit were $100 for property owners and $125 for those who rent.

Allison said the city charges a deposit to use toward an outstanding bill (if it doesn't get paid after a move), and since the average bill for a month is about $75, the city determined the $100-$125 price tag was more than what was necessary.

“So we are going to charge a $75 deposit across the board for everyone,” he said.

• A $25 processing fee will be assessed to each new residential water service account.

Water, sewer and trash increases are soon to follow; they will show up on bills beginning March 1.

Watch for more about rate hikes in coming weeks.