Council votes against sewer rate increase

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By Jennifer Garcia

Utilities customers can breathe a sigh of relief, at least for now.

A divided council rejected an ordinance that would have increased sewer utility rates.

Four of the seven councilors had enough concerns about the increase to vote against it.

As a result, the motion to adopt the ordinance failed 4-3, with councilors Robert Gibson, Ralph Phelps and Mike Wismer voting in favor of the motion.

The increase would have provided approximately $300,000 of additional annual revenue to fund maintenance costs and would have built cash reserves.

The average residential bill would have increased by approximately $4 to be a total of approximately $45 a month. In addition, the minimum monthly bill would have increased by $2 a month, from $21.70 to $23.70.

The minimum monthly bill was established to allocate a reasonable portion of fixed costs to each customer for the “readiness reserve,” regardless of sewer usage.

Department of Public Utilities Manager John Arrowsmith was in council chambers last night, where he gave a brief presentation on the reasons for the increase and answered councilors’ questions.

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