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Arlington City Council to take second look at proposal to increase sewer rates

ARLINGTON — The City Council has pushed back talks of raising city sewer rates until early next year.

The city Public Works Department initially sought input from the Council on whether the city should increase its rates in 2010 during a Nov. 23 work session.

City of Arlington spokeswoman Kristin Banfield said the Council discussed the department’s preliminary draft ordinance, which would increase monthly sewer rates from $48.75 per month to $55.75 per month in 2010, but said more discussion needed to take place before any increase is put into place.

“The Council gave us a lengthy list of changes,” Banfield said. “They requested that it get pushed back to January.”

Banfield said the Council will discuss any rate changes in more detail during either the Jan. 11 or Jan. 25 meeting.

According to a city memo, increasing the city sewer fees would help offset costs to upgrading the capacity and treatment technology of its wastewater treatment plant.

Those improvements are currently underway.

Connection rates by new customers were increased in December 2008 to help make up for wastewater treatment plant upgrades, and the city is now looking to for existing customers to pay their proportionate share of the upgrades, the city memo states.

Council members expressed interest in holding a public hearing in early 2010 before any increased sewer rates went into effect, Banfield said.

Public entities are not required to hold a public hearing in order raise sewer rates, which can be adjusted at any time.

The last time the city raised sewer rates was in 2005, Banfield said.

In two possible scenarios laid out by the Public Works department, rate increases would also occur in 2011 and 2012. One scenario showed rates also increasing in 2013.

Banfield said that those proposed rates would likely change during the Council’s upcoming discussions.

Council members said during the work session that the current economic climate would affect any rate increase, Banfield said..

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