Utility Rate Structure
The adoption of the consumption-based rate structure for North Miami’s water and sewer utility in April 2012 replaced the previous Consumer Price Index (CPI)-based rate structure. Under the tiered rate structure, residential utility customers are charged for usage in incremental units every three months. The less water you use, the lower your quarterly bill will be.
Necessity of Utility Rate Study
Water and Wastewater utilities across the nation are facing serious challenges posed by a number of factors: an aging infrastructure and the increasing cost to maintain it; an increased population to provide potable water to; and strict requirements imposed by regulatory agencies to conserve water. In order for the City of North Miami Water Utility to comply with the Consumptive Use Permit issued by South Florida Water Management District and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA’s) sewer system infrastructure handbook requirements, a utility rate study was done to evaluate the utility’s overall cost to operate and appropriate charges for utility customers were recommended.
The Consumptive Use Permit (13-00059-W) issued in August 2010, requires the North Miami Water Utility to implement a tired water conservation rate structure as one of the conditions of issuance. If the City of North Miami did not adopt such a rate structure, the water utility could ultimately be shut down.
Background on the Rate Study
In 2011, the City of North Miami hired a consultant, Black and Veatch, to conduct an extensive rate study for the City’s water and sewer utility to meet operational demands through September 2016. The study was used to develop rates that recover operating and capital improvement requirements, promote the efficient use of water resources, and address issues of equitability and affordability for customers served by the City. Water utility customers that do not live within North Miami City limits will continue to pay a 25% surcharge. Prior to this study, the last comprehensive rate study conducted by the city of North Miami was done over 20 years ago.
Last Modification to the Rate Structure
The last major modification to the rate structure was done in 2008 with the addition to Capital Improvement fees for Water and Sewer. The projects that were covered under these fees are now built into the current rate structure.
The rate structure recommended by the Black and Veatch study (PDF) was adopted by resolution at the Council meeting on April 10, 2012. Florida Statute 367.081 requires that the City’s ordinance referring to the utility rates (Chapter 19 - Utilities) be amended, which requires two public hearings, held on April 10th and April 24, 2012.
About the Utility Bill
All City services - water, sewer, storm water, garbage and recycling are charged on one utility bill. For customers billed quarterly, water meters are read approximately every ninety days. Your utility bill reflects services for the previous time period and is due upon receipt. You will receive your bill approximately the same time each billing cycle.
If you do not receive your utility bill, or you have any questions please call Utility Billing Customer Service at 305-895-9880.
Give Notice for Service Needs
It is recommended that customers give the City notice at least two business days in advance for any service needs. If you are moving, it is important to maintain access to your meters for any accurate final reading. It is also important that you provide a forwarding address for the final bill.
If you receive an unusually high water bill, there are a few things you should do before calling the City. Check your water meter for movement on the dial. If all the faucets are shut off and it is spinning, chances are there is a leak. Look for running toilets, leaky faucets and fixtures, or leaking sprinkler systems.
After verifying any possible leaks, contact the Utility Operation Center at 305-895-9838. If you have city related water issue after hours (flood, burst pipes, backflow problems, etc) call the Winson Water Plant at 305-953-2854 or 305-953-2857 (TDD).
Water Quality Safety
Good water quality is important in North Miami. To protect it, the City requires backflow prevention devices. They keep unsafe water from mixing with the potable water supply. Backflow prevention devices must be installed on all commercial and multifamily residential structures, as well as residential irrigation systems, fire sprinkler systems, and other systems where drinking water could become contaminated.
Water Line Leaks
Water is a valuable natural resource that should not be wasted. Everyone can do their part to make sure that water is not lost by leaks in the pipes. The Public Works Department has a program that inspects the water lines within the public rights-of-way throughout the year. If you notice a puddle of water in the public right-of-way, that seems to never go away; or experience low water pressure, please notify the Water and Sewer Division at 305-895-9838 to request an inspection. If you notice a puddle of water on your private property, please contact your plumber.
Water & Sewer Repairs
If you are having a toilet backup or if your residential or commercial backflow device is leaking, you should call the Public Works Department Water and Sewer Division at 305-895-9838. Office hours are Monday through Friday from 7:30 am to 4 pm. For emergencies after hours and or on weekends, you will need to call 305-953-2854.
The City will repair all leaks occurring between the meter and the street. Any leaks or repairs required beyond the meter, including the service line to the house, are the responsibility of the property owner.
The Public Works Sewer Maintenance Division maintains sanitary sewer lines for both residential and commercial properties. Residents are urged to refrain from disposing cooking grease and large objects into the sewer system. Should you have a blockage, experience sluggish drains in your house or business or notice an overflow in front of your property call the Public Works Department Water and Sewer Division at 305-895-9838. If your sewer backs up after 4 pm Monday through Friday, or on weekends, call 305-953-2854.
Utilities - Locating Before You Dig
Before you dig on your property where utilities such as electric, water, telephone, and natural gas lines are buried, Florida State law requires that you notify Sunshine One Call at 1-800-432-4770 before you begin any underground digging. Sunshine One Call will notify the various utility companies of your pending request. The utilities companies will locate their buried utilities within two days of your call. This law protects you from possible serious injury and from liability in the event you damage any underground utilities.