Chaffee seeks water, sewer rate increase

Thursday, April 12, 2007

CHAFFEE, Mo. -- Chaffee city leaders will ask their constituents to accept a small increase in water and sewer rates as a first step to improving those services.

The city government is asking residents for their thoughts on a proposed 4 percent increase in the rates customers pay for water and sewer service to help offset rising costs and perhaps provide enough money to begin improvements to the systems.

A public meeting will be held at 7 p.m. May 7 at Chaffee City Hall to get feedback on the proposal from Chaffee residents.

Acting Mayor Tom Cunningham said the proposal for the increase came about as city officials formed the city budget, which was approved earlier this month. During that process, Cunningham said, the increased cost of providing the services -- primarily from chemicals used in the water treatment process -- became apparent, as did the need to make up those costs.

Cunningham and Mayor-elect Loretta Mohorc said the increase could be the first steps in helping to fund improvements to the city's antiquated water and sewer systems.

"We have the lowest water rates in the area," Mohorc said. "We're taking baby steps to deliver the best water service we can at this time and still keep them down."

The rate increase will be one of the first issues Mohorc presides over as mayor after she and other elected officials are sworn in Monday. Cunningham will resume his post as Ward 4 councilman after the swearing in. He has served as mayor since last fall, when Bill Cannon stepped down.

Cunningham said his combined water and sewer bill for a household of two is about $24 a month. A 4 percent increase would add about $1 to a $24 bill.

335-6611, extension 182

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