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Hearing Tuesday on proposed sewer rate increase

March 31, 2001

Hearing Tuesday on proposed sewer rate increase



Public hearing


-- What: Proposal to increase sewer rates by 2 percent

-- When: Tuesday, 9:45 a.m.

-- Where: Washington County Commissioners meeting room

By SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

Citizens can speak to the Washington County Commissioners about a proposed 2 percent rate increase for sewer customers at a public hearing Tuesday.

The increase would raise the average residential sewer customer's bill by 60 cents a month beginning in July, county Water and Sewer Director Greg Murray said.

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County water rates will remain unchanged for the second consecutive year under a proposal by Murray.

There were sufficient cash reserves, coupled with operational savings, to avoid a water rate increase this year, Murray said. However, his proposal projects water rate increases of 2.5 percent each year from fiscal year 2003 through at least fiscal 2011.

It also calls for at least a 2 percent annual sewer fund increase through at least 2011.

Water and sewer rates did not increase in the current fiscal year for the first time since the commissioners took over the Washington County Sanitary Commission in December 1995 and assumed its $54 million in debt.

In 1999, the commissioners increased sewer rates by 3 percent and water rates by 2.5 percent.

As in past years, the County Commissioners are expected to subsidize three funds: water, sewer and pretreatment. The subsidies are grants from the general fund that the commissioners do not expect will be paid back.

The county has subsidized the department by at least $12 million since 1995.

The budget calls for giving:

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> $232,400 to the water fund, down from $332,400 this year.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> About $2.5 million to the sewer fund, up from about $2.4 million this year.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> $350,000 to the pretreatment fund, the same amount as this year.

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