Local News

Water rate increase comes back to City Council

A five-percent water rate hike is on the Ketchikan City Council agenda  Thursday.

The increase had been part of the 2013 budget that the Council approved in December, but fee changes must go through an additional approval process. The Council in January deferred the water rate increase in hopes that the city could come up with a different plan that would raise the same level of revenue, but without affecting homeowners.

Industrial customers, fish processing plants in particular, use significantly more water than any other customers, but pay a lower rate. Some Council members charged that homeowners were subsidizing those industrial users unfairly.

In a recent memo to the Council, City Manager Karl Amylon says that city officials met with some fish processing company representatives. They objected to any rate increase that would single out their industry, but agreed to continue working with the city to close the gap between what they pay for water and the cost of providing that service.

Processors now pay about 20 percent of the actual cost to the city.

The Council also has four executive sessions scheduled. The closed-door meetings are for private discussion of a lawsuit filed against the city over a street repair project; a potential lawsuit against Southeast Engineering over the water treatment plant project; and two issues related to KPU Telecommunications Division’s plans to offer local wireless telephone service.

The meeting starts at 7 p.m. in City Council chambers. Public comment will be heard at the start of the meeting.

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