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Few turn out for hearing on utility rates

April 04, 2000|By SCOTT BUTKI

Eleven people attended a public hearing Tuesday night on Washington County water and sewer rates and about half of those were members of the Water and Sewer Advisory Commission.

Washington County Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook attributed the low attendance to the possibility that there will be no rate increase this year.

"This has been a long time coming," Snook said. "I think the staff has outnumbered the citizenry."

County Administrator Rodney Shoop said one year about 400 people attended a public hearing on proposed rate hikes.

Only one person, Bob Hull, spoke at Tuesday's hearing.

The county seems to be working responsibly to try to curtail the county's $52.3 million water and sewer debt, Hull said.

If Washington County gets $500,000 for debt reduction, as proposed under a state plan, there would be no water and sewer rate hikes next year for customers.

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If the state plan is not approved, there would be about an average 2 percent increase hike in sewer rates, or about 68 cents more per month for the average residential customer.

There would still be no water rate increases for the county's customers, even if money from the state plan didn't come.

It would be the first time there would not be systemwide rate increases in five years.

The proposal also calls for a $250 annual increase in hookup fees for the next three years. The sewer connection fee would rise from $2,750 this year to $3,500 in fiscal 2003.

The fiscal year begins July 1.

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