The Altoona Water Authority has approved a 10 percent hike in sewer rates and a 4 percent hike in water rates.
The sewer rate hike is the first increase in a four-year plan to raise those rates a cumulative 58 percent, mostly to pay for $70 million in mandated plant renovations to protect Chesapeake Bay.
For a user of 10,000 gallons a month - the national average, according to the American Water Works Association - the increases for next year will raise the sewer bill $6 to $65 and raise the water bill for such a user $4 to $91.
That user would pay a total authority bill of $10 more a month.
The local average user - billing director Ron Becher said his average customer uses 5,000 gallons - will pay a total of $5 more.
Becher guessed the authority average is half the national average because there are a large number of elderly people living on their own who use much less water.
A minimum user will pay $2 more.
The authority plans to increase sewer rates in increments of 13, 19 and 7 percent starting in 2012.
Coupled with 2011's 10 percent hike, those increases total 49 percent, but the compounding effect - each increase boosts the principal, in turn boosting the effect of the next increase - the cumulative percentage is greater.
The U.S.-average user will pay $93 for sewer in 2014, up $34 from the current cost.
The local average user will pay $49, up $18.
The sewer increases will pay off money the authority has borrowed through bonds and Pennvest to complete upgrades to its Westerly and Easterly treatment plants.
The authority must commit to the increases to meet the requirements of the lenders from which it's getting the money for the upgrades, according to controller Gina DeRubeis.