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City presents sewer hike to public

Port Orchard sewer customers have been invited to a workshop hosted by the City of Port Orchard designed to encourage feedback on a proposed increase to the city’s monthly sewer rates.

According to new Public Works Director Maher Abed, the city is preparing for a $9 monthly rate increase within the city limits and a $13.50 monthly increase for surrounding areas served by the city. The proposal also calls for a substantial increase in sewer connection fees for newcomers to the system.

Abed said rates for city residents would increase from $27 per month to $36 per month.

“What we’re trying to do is cover our operation and maintenance expenditures,” Abed said. “We’re going to show that in the meeting.”

Abed said city staff will use the meeting to provide background information, discuss the reasons behind the proposal, provide different rate increase options and receive public input.

“We will be providing the public with an informational presentation about the reasons behind the rate increase, as well as what the proposed rate structure will be,” Abed said. “Then there will be time for questions and public input. When you do a rate increase, it’s never a popular position, but it is warranted because of the needs of the system.”

But Abed said the proposal is mostly the result of the upgrade to the Joint Wastewater Treatment Facility that the city is making in cooperation with Karcher Creek Sewer District. The money is needed to begin paying back the Public Works Trust Fund Loan the city took out for the project.

“(The city’s) revenue is running in the negative,” Abed said. “We have to offset costs in order to pay out bills. The last time (rates) were raised was 2003. It has been a few years.”

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