Rates go up: Water, sewer hikes

April 2015 Posted in News

The Silverton City Council voted unanimously on April 5 to approve rate increases for sewer, water and storm drainage.

Silverton City Manager Bob Willoughby said the rate increases are needed to address significant issues withe the city’s infrastructure.

The rates will go into effect July 1. The average residential customer will see an increase of $1.70 for sewer; $1.72 for water and $2 for stormwater for a total of a $5.42 increase.

Willoughby said he hopes the citizens will understand the council voted to increase rates now so the problems with the water, sewer and storm water systems can begin to be addressed, instead of higher costs later.

“We didn’t want to reach a point where we had no choice but to fix it. We have 80-year-old water lines and several water lines that leak,” he said. “Our water plant is 40 years old and most water plants are 25 to 30 years old. We have concerns about our sewer lines and about our sewer plant beginning close to capacity.”

On Facebook, City Councilor Jim Sears shared he believes the rate increases were desperately needed.

“The city’s infrastructure is in dire need of improvements and the city has been putting them off for many years in an effort to keep the utility rates down. It appears that it has caught up with us,” he said, adding a study looked at what it would cost to improve the city’s infrastructure.

“The study showed we have a large need to fund in the future. Thus we will need to continue to evaluate our city provided utilities, with the understanding that the rates will need to continue to be adjusted to address these future needs,” he wrote.

“I can’t think of anyone who like increases in their utility bills, especially city councils, but the approved increases will go a long way to improving our sewer, water, and storm drain systems. It will do this without imposing any debt.”

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