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Water, sewer rates to increase

Water to increase 5 percent, sewer up 14 percent come July 1
Prineville water and sewer rates will increase beginning July 1.
   As a part of the previously approved master fee resolution, water rates will increase 5 percent and sewer rates will increase 14 percent.
   "One of the most driving reasons for the rate increase is that we are required, as a part of our loan from the state for construction (of the new plant), to collect 25 percent more than the total cost of maintenance and debt repayment to ensure our rates are adequate enough to meet our responsibility," said city manager Robb Corbett.
   A source of revenue sufficient in size to pay back the bond on the new multi-million dollar sewer plant is needed, explained Andy Parks, financial consultant to the city.
   "The rate increase also makes up for years of not increasing sewer rates," Parks said. "It's the hard reality."
   Corbett agreed, saying the city has not historically raised rates consistently.
   "We haven't raised rates as frequently as we should have," he said.
   Forecasts show another 14 percent increase next year, though Corbett isn't sure the increase will reach that amount.
   "At this point we are looking at another increase that will exceed 10 percent," Corbett said.
   While the dramatic rise may startle some homeowners, Parks noted Prineville property values have risen significantly and a property has little value without a sewer connection.
   Corbett said the council is in the process of putting together long-range financials for water and sewer.
   "At that point we will know better what the rates will do," he said.