Local News

Wastewater hike to “catch up” local rates

Sitkans will be paying higher wastewater rates starting next month.

The Sitka assembly last night (11-6-12) unanimously approved hikes in the rates for both unmetered households and large commercial users.

Currently, the domestic rate is $38.43 per month. That will go up about $3 to $42.19.
The rate hikes are part of five-year master plan adopted by the assembly in 2011 to spread the pain of rate hikes over several years, in order to pay for needed replacement of sewer infrastructure.

Assembly member Phyllis Hackett said she tries to reassure concerned citizens that the money is not going to waste.

“None of us up here, or in staff, want to raise prices. There is no fluff going on anywhere. We are really looking at the basics that need to be done to maintain a good healthy system.”

Assembly member Matt Hunter put it a little bit differently. He said Sitkans are making up for years with no increases whatsoever.

“This increase right now is playing catch-up. It’s like a retirement account: If you haven’t been paying in a tiny bit over the years you need to pay in a lot, and then you can pay in a tiny bit after that, because you’ve caught up. So we’re catching up. It will be painful in the short term, and we won’t see drastic increases after that, because it will automatically go with inflation, which it hasn’t been for however many years.”

The assembly approved the increase on a vote of 6-0, with Thor Christianson absent. It will go into effect in December.

This is the second of five annual increases planned through 2016.

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