Let's start by clarifying - they're not apologizing for the actual increase, but rather the early nature of its roll-out.  The City of Duluth has issued an an official apology to residents for implementing a planned storm water rate increase six months earlier than planned.

The apology stems from an almost dollar-per-month rate increase that was approved by the Public Utilities Commission.  Homeowners who are currently paying $6.75  per month would see that increase to $7.51.  That rate increase was approved for and planned for a July start.  Somehow, that message didn't get to the billing department.

They're not saying how or why the error occurred, but city officials are apologizing for it hitting customers bills in January.  To compensate, the city will now delay the planned start of the new storm water rate increase from July to August.  Chief Administrative Officer Noah Schuchman says:

"The City apologizes for this oversight.  Mistakes happen, and we are committed to fixing the error.  Instead of the rate beginning in July, we requested that the Public Utilities Commission bump the start date to August to make up for the overcharge in January".

The original reason for the delayed start to the rate increase was the COVID-19 Pandemic.  City officials and the Public Utilities Commission felt that starting it in July would give people who had experienced hardships due to the pandemic a chance to prepare and budget for the increase.

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The City of Duluth maintained more than 411 miles of pipe, 10,000 catch basins, 5,000 manholes, and 2,500 culverts as part of the Storm Water system.  The increase in cost will raise funds that will be used for capital projects to prevent further deterioration of the storm water system while maintianing its viability.  The City of Duluth last voted to increase the storm water rates in 2016.

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