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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