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Beaverton water rate increase proposed

Annual increase of 3.5 percent for water usage and another $1 for most meters in line with previous years.

Beaverton residents will pay a few more dollars on their monthly water bills starting in July under a proposed rate increase.

Assuming the Beaverton City Council adopts the increase June 9, it would add 10 cents per 748-gallon unit consumed, a 3.5 percent increase for water usage. The proposal also would raise the base monthly fee, also known as the meter charge, for the majority of water customers by $1 to $13 per month, an 8.3 percent increase on that part of the bill.

A modest water user of 800 cubic feet of water per month, nearly 6,000 gallons, would see a total increase of $1.80 per month after the new rates take effect July 1.

Customers who regularly water lawns, wash cars at home and take long showers would see proportionately larger bills. Larger commercial and industrial customers also would see their bills increase 3.5 percent for water usage, and many have larger meters with correspondingly higher monthly fees.

Beaverton residential water customers would still pay less for water than customers in Portland and residents of a little more than half of other west-side suburbs, according to the city's comparison with other providers.

Besides inflation, including personnel costs, the increase helps pay for the city's ongoing replacement of aging water lines and share of improvements at the Joint Water Commission's treatment plant.

"Replacing and upgrading old water lines is necessary to ensure our safe and reliable drinking water," said David Winship, the city's principal engineer.

With the new rates, the city's water department would collect nearly $12.8 million per year, with costs anticipated to be $11.5 million. The additional revenue also could also allow the city to save up money, potentially to pay for a portion of future projects aimed at raising capacity and reliability in the water system, Finance Director Patrick O'Claire said.

The city's water system, including large-capacity water pipes and fire hydrants, also helps provide firefighters with sufficient water to battle blazes.

"A system that provides reliable water can be the difference between a small fire and a serious incident," said Mayor Denny Doyle. "Our ability to suppress fires influences new home construction, business location decisions and insurance rates. Our quality water system is critical." The Beaverton City Council will hold a public hearing before it votes on the proposed water rates at its June 9 meeting. The meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the ground-floor council chambers at The Beaverton Building, 12725 S.W. Millikan Way.

For more information, contact the city's Public Works department at 503-526-2220.


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