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Manchester District to vote on rate hike increase

Manchester Water District Board of Commissioners will consider increasing the district’s water rates roughly 6 percent at its monthly meeting on Tuesday. The hike is needed, boardmembers say, to offset increases in operational and maintenance expenses.

For the typical consumer, rates would increase approximately $1.60 per month total.

The base service charge, the amount people pay regardless of their consumption, would increase by 50 cents to $11.75 per month. The base charge supports the district’s fixed costs such as customer service, meter maintenance, billing, postage, insurance, and most personnel services.

The consumption charge would increase by 11 cents per 100 cubic feet, or 748 gallons. Consumption charges support the balance of operations, including capital improvements and costs that vary with water sales, such as chemicals, power, water quality testing and taxes.

The Manchester Water District last increased its rates in 2002. If approved, the rate increase will not go into effect until Jan. 1.

“The board’s been working on this for a while and we’ve been discussing it at past meetings, and this is the formula we embraced,” said Alan Fletcher, general manager of the Manchester Water District.

According to Fletcher, after a large rate increase in 2002, the board committed itself to raising rates more often so the impact on consumers would be reduced.

“The board looks at rates every year, and if we need an adjustment we try to do it in small, manageable amounts,” Fletcher said.

Fletcher said customers will be receiving notice of the meeting and the potential change in rate in their next bill.

Manchester Water District is a nonprofit, community-owned water supplier formed in 1942. The district is governed by an elected three-member Board of Commissioners and staffed by seven employees.

The district is supported totally by water rates and serves nearly 9,000 people in the unincorporated areas of Manchester, South Colby, Harper, and Southworth, while operating a system of more than 32 miles of piping, 11 wells, five reservoirs, three pump stations and 360 public and private hydrants for fire protection.

The district bills every two months and delivers more than 200 million gallons of water annually. In conjunction with water delivery, the district operates street lighting systems in various portions of its service territory.

Manchester Water District customers are encouraged to attend the meeting or submit written comments to be considered.

Written comments regarding the increase must be received by Nov. 8. Comments can be mailed to the Manchester Water District, PO box 98, Manchester, WA 98353-0098 or sent by e-mail to customerservice@manchesterwater.org.

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