The City of La Crosse Utilities billing statements include charges for the La Crosse Sanitary Sewer Utility and the La Crosse Stormwater Utility. The La Crosse Water Utility manages the billing and forwards the collected charges to each utility.
The refuse and recycling collection for the City of La Crosse is included as part of the property taxes and not billed separately. For gas, electric, cable, phone and internet services, customers must contact the local providers.
The La Crosse Water, Sewer and Stormwater Utilities are public utilities that are owned by the Municipality and funded thru the income generated from rates for services provided. They do not receive any revenue from the property taxes paid to the municipality for other city services.
Water rates are established by the Public Service Commission (PSC) of Wisconsin. Sanitary Sewer and Stormwater rates are established by the Common Council. Current rate schedules for all utilities can be found here. These rates are intended to be high enough to provide the utility with a reasonable opportunity to recover the total costs of providing service and to sustain their financial integrity, that in turn provides a dependable and reliable service to the consumer for a fair value.
Water Fixed Service Charge - This is a fixed charge based on the size of the water meter. Service charges are designed to recover the utility's capital and operating costs associated with customer-related expenses, including the installation, repair, maintenance, and reading of water meters; billing, and customer service. Customers are charged this fixed service charge for each meter connected to the water system on their property, even when no water is consumed.
Water Usage Charge - This charge is based on the volume of water used in the billing period. The charge pays for the installation, operation, repair and maintenance of drinking water collection, treatment and distribution facilities including labor, energy and chemicals.
Water rates in La Crosse currently reflect a declining block rate structure in which the charge per quantity of water decreases as water usage increases. Future rate applications to the PSC may result in approval of a flat or inclining block rate structure (the charge per quantity of water increase as water usage increases) to reflect water conservation initiatives in Wisconsin. Currently, La Crosse has an ample supply of water, treatment capacity, and distribution capacity; all water is returned to the source, and construction of additional facilities to meet demand is not necessary.
Water meters measure the usage in units called Ccf. One Ccf of water is 100 cubic feet or 748 gallons . To calculate water usage in gallons, multiply the number of Ccf by 748.
Public Fire Protection Charge - The La Crosse Water Utility directly charges customers for Public Fire Protection (PFP) to recover the costs of water used for fighting fires and the extra capacity built into the system necessary to rapidly deliver a large volume of water to a fire anywhere within the municipality's water service area. These costs include a portion of the wells, pumps, storage facilities, water mains, hydrants and estimated quantity of water used for this purpose.
Private Fire Protection Charge - This charge is for permanent or continuous unmetered connections to the main for the purpose of supplying water to private fire protection systems such as automatic sprinkler systems, standpipes and private fire hydrants.
Sewer Fixed Service Charge - This is a fixed charge based on the size of the water meter. Service charges are designed to recover the utility's capital and operating costs associated with customer-related expenses, as well as infiltration and inflow related costs. Customers are charged this fixed service charge for each meter connected to the water system on their property, even when no water is consumed.
Sewer Usage Charge - This charge is based on the volume of water used in the billing period that is then discharged into the wastewater system. The charge recovers the cost of Capital and operating costs associated with the installation, operation, repair and maintenance of the sewage distribution, collection and treatment, including labor, energy and chemicals.
The La Crosse Sanitary Sewer Utility uses a flat rate structure; the same rate per Ccf is applied regardless of the amount of water discharged to the sewer.
Summer Sanitary Sewer Usage Credit: Residential customers, as defined on the rates page, are charged the lesser of their actual usage versus their winter usage during two quarters of the year.
Stormwater Utility Charges - This is a fixed quarterly charge applied to all developed property and all vacant, improved property, including tax-exempt properties. The charge is based on the amount of hard surface, or impervious surface, of each property. A typical residential property has an average impervious surface area of 2,841 square feet. This measurement is called an Equivalent Runoff Unit (ERU). Each Residential property is charged 1 ERU. The ERU is then used to calculate the charge for non-residential property based on total impervious surface area.