The Scappoose City Council will decide next week whether to raise water rates slightly to bolster the city's budget in response to ongoing loan payments and diminished revenues from new development fees.

The Scappoose Public Works Advisory Committee, made up of city officials, staff and residents, met for months to hash out a plan to bring in more revenue from water rates. At the meetings, the discussions centered on how to pay for infrastructure loans, many of which will continue for years, while making sure residents' own budgets aren't hurt too badly. They came up with their proposition in March.

The committee settled on recommending a 5 cent increase on the usage fee. Currently, water customers pay the city a fixed $15.30 rate plus a usage fee of 33 cents per 100 gallons every two months. If the recommendation is accepted Sept. 19, the new rate will go into effect on the Nov. 1 bill.

If a home or business in Scappoose uses 20,000 gallons of water every billing cycle they would end up paying $91.30 total under the proposed rate.

There may have to be more increases in the near future depending on a number of hard-to-pin-down factors, said City Manager Jon Hanken.

'This is what I call the first step,' he said. 'This isn't going to be the fix-all.'

The committee will meet again sometime in the future.

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