Sewer Rates

 

June 9, 2008

 

            Several years ago, the City was in violation of rules promulgated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and adopted by the State of Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). The State mandated the City to make repairs to the Wastewater System. The City embarked on finding funding agencies and an engineering firm to design the necessary improvements. Voters of the City of Brownsville approved a bond tax levy to pay for the required improvements in November of 2004. Cost projections, at that time, were that the monthly utility bills would increase from a monthly average of around $51 to a monthly average of near $75. The City secured financing from the United States Department of Agriculture – Rural Utilities Service (USDA-RUS) in a loan amount of $6, 217,000 and grant funds not to exceed $1,189,000; from the State’s Economic and Community Development Department (OECDD) which included a $300,000 loan and a $250,000 grant from the Wastewater Program and a $750,000 grant from Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds. The City was required by contract to spend the loan amounts first.

 

             Last year the City began constructing the largest public works project in the history of the City, a Wastewater Improvements Project that included a new lagoon at the South facility and the replacement of nearly 40% of the City’s sewer collection lines. Fortunately, the City received bids that were within the projected budget and two quality contractors. In January of 2008, the USDA-RUS approved Council’s request to include additional collection lines to the project accessing the remaining grant money. USDA approved the request and the City is in the process of replacing the collection lines on Kirk Avenue, Averill and Linn Way.

 

            Council decided to place $15 monthly charge on all sewer accounts. The bond levy will be levied this fiscal year to off set the remaining balance of the annual payment. What this means is that on the montly utility bill there will be a line item that reads Sewer Debt Service $15. The average monthly bill will go from $56 to around $75. The good news is the actual numbers are very close to the original projections and the project came in under budget. The bad news is we all have to pay more for sewer services.

 

Based on a family of four, these were monthly

charges for communities around Brownsville as of 2006:

 

Sweet Home              $ 73.32

Lebanon                     $ 69.85

Harrisburg                 $ 72.65

Philomath                  $ 62.45

Results for Bond Measure 22-30 at the General Election held November 2, 2004:

Total Votes Cast = 769
Yes = 615 (79.97%)
No = 154 (20.03%)