Not all members of McMinnville’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen gushed with excitement over proposed increases to the city’s water and sewer connection fees for new customers.
Alderman Steve Harvey voiced hesitancy Tuesday night over what he referred to as “a big jump” in water and sewer tap fees proposed by Water and Sewer Committee members Stacey Harvey, Rachel Kirby and Sally Brock.
A three-quarter inch water tap fee is currently $900. However, according to numbers presented by the department, actual cost is $1,445. Proposed by committee members is to increase that tap fee to $1,550.
“So you want to increase by $600?” asked Steve Harvey, who doesn’t sit on the committee.
Stacey Harvey corrected, “$650.”
“That’s a big jump,” said Steve.
Stacey agreed, “It is a big jump, but so is a $545 loss every time we install one.”
Adding extra money over cost, said Stacey, would cover any increases over the next couple of years preventing the need for the city to adjust the fees to match expenses.
Also being proposed:
• One-inch water tap fee is currently $1,150. Per the department, actual cost is $1,680. Proposed is an increase to $2,250, which is $1,100 more.
• Four-inch sewer tap fee is $750. Per the department, actual cost is $959. Proposed is an increase to $1,250, which is $500 more.
• Six-inch sewer tap fee is $880. Per the department, actual cost is $1,040. Proposed is an increase to $1,550, which is $670 more.
“You’ve also got in-house labor in there,” said Steve. “Isn’t there a little to be said for the labor being in-house and that supporting the taps being sold for a little less money? We’re selling them water and we’re selling them sewer. I get it that we need to get our money back … I’m presenting that side of the argument from a consumer standpoint.”
Water and Wastewater Department director Ricky Morton stated, “That may have been the case for how it was calculated before. They left the labor and equipment off. When it’s broken down, in some cases, the number being charged is in direct relationship to the department’s cost minus labor and equipment use.”
Steve replied, “I kind of equate it to ‘I’ll give you the nail gun for free if you buy the nails.’”
Water and Sewer Committee members unanimously approved the water and sewer tap fee increases.
Their recommendation will be sent to the full Board of Mayor and Aldermen for consideration.