Gilbert Town Council approved on Dec. 14 the town publishing a notice of intent to raise its utility rates in the spring.

The actual act of raising the rates will not be considered until council meets Feb. 22, but the town first had to meet this legal requirement from the state. If passed, the rate hike would take effect with April bills.

The vote on publishing the notice of intent was 5-1 with Aimee Yentes in dissent and Laurin Hendrix absent.

Eric Braun, Gilbert public works deputy director, told council that without a rate increase on the water and environmental services—trash collection and recycling—portions of the bills, the enterprise funds for those services would soon fall below council’s policy for a minimum fund balance.

Council policy has long required the town to keep three months of service and one year of debt payments as a minimum balance on its enterprise funds. That minimum balance is meant to be a “rainy day” fund, officials said.

In his presentation to council, Braun said the town’s utility rates will remain among the lowest in the Valley for peer cities and the rate would go up about $11 on average for a resident, though he stressed it would depend on the resident’s water usage, which varies widely.

The town will have public workshops Jan. 24. and Feb. 3 in which residential and nonresidential customers can get more information on the rate hikes and the reasons behind them. The meetings will be both in public and streamed.