Lincoln City Councilors, on a 4-2 split, approved raising sewer and water rates in Lincoln City effective July 1st. The increase for water is, on average, 6%, while the increase for sewer is around 4%.
The council also approved a provision that allows the city to charge a higher rate in the summer when water use peaks and costs are higher due to higher pumping and water treatment operations.
But overall, City Manager David Hawker says the annualized increases should not exceed 6% for water, 4% for sewer.
The move comes after long discussions and several workshops on how Lincoln City will meet demands for water and sewer services out 20 to 25 years. Hawker said the city has already spent a lot of money on upgrading the town’s water system and there are more multi-million dollar upgrades looming on the horizon. There have also been upgrades to sewer operations and that all this debt has to be paid largely through user fees.
Adding to all this is a council goal that Lincoln City residents and businesses work harder to conserve water. That’s why there will be higher “peak use” rates in the Summer. Hawker said he hopes those peak rates will help encourage better water conservation habits so that water use during the Summer will average 15% less in twenty years than it is today. Hawker warned “if the town doesn’t find a way to begin reducing water consumption and paying higher rates for water, it will necessitate a massive water and sewer expansion program that will spread “sticker shock” from one end of town to the other, including those areas served outside the city limits.”
When the vote came, it was 4-2, with councilors Anderson and Kuntz voting no. Kuntz said although he wasn’t around when all the original discussions went on, he does knows the economy isn’t good right now and now is not the time to be raising rates.Share on Facebook