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City water increase could be coming
water faucet

A fee increase could be on its way to McMinnville Water and Sewer Department customers.

“Do you all want to talk about a rate increase now or wait until the next meeting to go over it?” asked Alderman Kate Alsbrook during a meeting of the city Water and Sewer Committee to review the proposed budgets of the Water and Sewer Department.

Alderman Everett Brock replied, “From the standpoint of the Budget Committee, I’d rather wait and keep it separate. You can do what you want to.”

“We’ll put that off until the next meeting,” said Alsbrook.

The city has two regular meeting nights a month with the next one being June 9. 

Because the Water and Sewer Department is an enterprise system, user rates, fees and charges must be sufficient to meet the actual costs of providing water and sewer services to city residents.

The last fee increase was in January 2014. At that time, water and sewer customers inside the city limits were given a 19 percent increase and those outside the city limits received a 30 percent increase. 

Water and Sewer Department director Ricky Morton outlined large expenditures the department is facing. 

“The estimate on the roof at Bell Street is $250,000,” said Morton. 

The roof replacement project has not undergone a bidding process, so actual cost is unknown.

“We need blowers and mixers for the digesters for sewer processing,” said Morton. “What it does is to keep everything moving and prevent it from settling.” 

Estimate is $97,000. Actual cost is unknown.

The largest expenditure is a sewer system rehabilitation project. Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved a bid of $789,555 from Morgan Contracting.

Water and Sewer Department’s budget is divided into two sections: water purification and distribution, and wastewater collection and treatment.

Morton’s proposed budgets for fiscal year 2020-21 are $2.23 million for water and $2.43 million for sewer. Budgets for fiscal year 2019-20 were approximately $2 million and $2.37 million, respectively. 

“We’ve had slight increases in both,” said Morton. 

Water and Sewer Committee members approved both proposed budgets as presented. Board of Mayor and Aldermen approval is required.