About a dozen Cedaredge residents attended the Sept. 21 town board meeting with complaints that the recent water rate hike is causing unacceptable billing increases, hardship and negative impacts to the town.
Complaints of water billings that have gone from $70 per month to $128 per month; from $78 to $131 per month; and from $80 per month to $152 per month for less water usage were cited.
Constituents at Orchard City's Sept. 13 regular meeting raised questions about the town's new, higher water rates.
Gary Cape objected "strenuously" to the water rates.
One purpose of the question-and-answer session was, in the words of the facilitator, to discuss whether utility rate increases are having a disproportionate impact on citizens with fixed incomes.
During the forum, that issue was also raised by Peggy Baxter, who had been contacted by an elderly resident who was concerned about how she'd be able to pay her water bill.
Orchard City residents told trustees that it is the town's water customers themselves who have gotten soaked by higher water charges because new rates were implemented ahead of the promised schedule.
The revelation was one of several complaints presented to trustees at a second consecutive boisterous business meeting on May 10.
Orchard City's base water charges for residential water customers with three-quarter-inch taps were revised for the second time in a month at the town board's April 12 meeting. The latest rates corrected a math problem with the rates adopted last month.
Even before Orchard City's new water rates take effect as scheduled on May 1 they are already being changed. An accounting error made in calculating the new water charges is said to be responsible.
Two constituents came forward at the Orchard City Town Board meeting on March 8 to question trustees about the water rate increase.
Jan Gage, a former trustee, expressed concern for senior citizens in town on fixed incomes who would be hurt financially by the doubling of water rates.
Following action by the Orchard City Town Board on March 8, customers of the town's domestic water system will see steep increases in both base charges and user fees beginning May 1.
The move came on a split 5-1 vote.
After another long discussion over the state of the water fund by Crawford trustees, and after a handful of constituents spoke out against the proposed increase to the water rates during a public hearing, trustees approved a modified plan last week, with the promise to keep working on making the water fund more solvent.
The Orchard City Town Board at its Wednesday, March 8, meeting will act on a proposal which, if adopted, would double residential water rates.
For example, based on preliminary figures provided to the Delta County Independent, the monthly base charge in-town would rise from $13 to $25, and the use rate for the first 20,000 gallons would rise from $0.99 per thousand gallons to $1.89 per thousand gallons.
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