Developing appropriate user rates is one of the most important and challenging tasks associated with operating a public utility system. Any public utility should be run as a business by balancing revenues against operating costs. However, establishing appropriate fees is much more than a simple accounting or engineering exercise. Other considerations include the need to fairly balance obligations to existing customers with the promises of new development. In addition to “paying the bills,” user rates and fees must meet strict legal tests. In nearly all cases, they must be demonstrably tied to the benefits received, in essence a fairness test. Utility rate setting is also a very public process. Transparency and effective public outreach are integral to most successful rate-setting processes. Forsgren Associates works with local governments to develop equitable and sustainable utility fee structures. As city, county, and district engineers, we provide the hands-on perspective of the rate-setting process — from our clients’ points of view.