SEWER BILLS: Tri-Lakes dwellers may see rate increase

COLUMBIA CITY — Tri-Lakes residents could possibly see an increase in their sewer bills starting in June.Expensive sewer repairs and rising maintenance costs have led the Tri-Lakes Sewer District to visit the idea of increasing rates .97 cents.According to the District Administrator Carol Martin the average sewer bill will increase from $37.88 to $38.85 for Phase I customers. Phase II customers, on average, will see a new amount of $51.40.“We aren’t talking about a big change in the amount charged to our customers,” said Martin.” Taking this increase little by little is a lot easier for customers to swallow than one big shot in the arm.”Phase I’s system is almost 20 years old and with the aging system comes costly repairs such as pumps. “One pump alone is $30,000,” Martin said. “It just like maintaining a car. You have to do the maintenance or it will cost you more in the long run.”If the increase goes through, some 1,800 customers will see the change on their June bills. “This is just part of what has to be done to continue to provide the best service to our customers,” Martin said.For customers who would like to share their opinion on the rate increase, a public hearing is set for April 8 at 6 p.m.It will be held at the Tri-Lakes Lions Club, 2800 E. Colony Ave., Columbia City.“This is a chance for residents to speak to the board,” Martin said.“There won’t be any questions or answers, but people can come and tell the board what they think. The board will proceed to vote on the ordinance.”