The Toledo City Council Wednesday night raised water rates substantially to pay for water system upgrades that are required to keep the water flowing through taps, toilets and garden hoses throughout Toledo. The rate increase, effective April 21st, will mean that a flat rate of $16.50 a month will rise to $27.00 a month, and that a thousand gallons of water will rise from $2.97 to $4.25. That works out to an average residential bill increase of $32 a month to $49 a month. City officials say the increase should “hold” the city for a while. There shouldn’t be anymore major increases for a while, although there could be some “minor” increases on the near horizon.
City officials say it all comes down to a basic truth. That the last couple of Toledo generations didn’t raise rates enough to “pay forward” the costs of keeping the water and sewer systems properly maintained. And that forty years of neglect are now coming “due.” Due in terms of having to build a new water intake system on the Siletz River, a new holding tank at a high point in the town, and the distribution lines to get good, quality water to all residents and businesses.
However, from here forward, it could get easier. City Public Works Director Adam Denlinger says “State and federal agencies have money to give and to lend for water projects. But before they grant or lend that money, local communities must charge a certain average rate before they qualify for cheaper federal or state programs. This rate increase will get Toledo qualified to apply for those grants and low interest loans.”
Denlinger says with this increased water rate, and a higher sewer rate coming up, Toledo will rebuild its sewer and water system that will meet the needs of the community, now and for the near future. He directs Toledo residents to the city’s website where the details of all this are laid out in a simple, straight forward way. Click here.