Council approves increase for Western Oregon WasteSEASIDE - It's going to cost you more to drink a glass of water or flush your toilet in Seaside.

To meet rising energy and maintenance costs, Seaside's City Council approved water and sewer rate increases, effective today.

Sewer rates will increase 12 percent and water rates will go up 15 percent. That means an increase of approximately $3.75 per month for an average user, City Manager Mark Winstanley said Monday.

"Last year, unlike other municipalities, we chose not to increase water and sewer rates," Winstanley said. "They were right, we were wrong. These increases would not have been as high if we had raised rates last year."

Rising energy, health insurance and chemical costs are forcing rates up. In addition, the city plans to add another water utility worker during the next fiscal year to maintain quality water lines. The city has had the same number of utility workers for 19 years and, with an increase in population and size, is not able to replace broken and

leaking water lines as quickly as it should, he said.

"Failure to replace water lines means lost water and that's not a good way to run the system," he said. "We need to be back out replacing water lines and making sure the system is in good shape."

The new rates are effective today and will first be reflected in the city's August billing.

In addition, the council approved a 2.5 percent Western Oregon Waste rate adjustment, effective July 1. The new rates reflect the cost of living adjustment. For an average one can weekly-curbside customer, this would be an increase of approximately 30 cents to $12.05 per month.

In other action Monday:

The council renewed the Downtown Maintenance District at a linear foot rate of $6.53 per front foot for one year. Funds from the district are used to keep the downtown core streets clean and to plant and maintain the community gardens. The district is a joint effort of the council, the city and a committee of downtown merchants.

In an effort to save time and money, the council adopted new amounts for equipment and supply contracts. Items less than $5,000 will be excluded from the public competitive bid process. Contracts for items from $5,000 to $25,000 will be exempt from the advertising requirements if the product is available from one source or at least two written quotes are obtained by city staff.

There are vacancies on the following city boards and committees: City Tree Board, Seaside Promotions Committee, Community Center and Senior Commission, Public Safety Committee and Citizens Advisory Loan Review Committee. For more information or to apply, call City Hall at 738-5511.

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