The North Bend Eagle

 

Council settles on water, sewer rate increases

by Nathan Arneal
Published 6/10/15

The entire North Bend City Council agreed that the city’s water and sewer rates were long overdue for a raise, but it took some debate to decide how large that raise should be at the June 2 meeting.

After much discussion, the council settled on raising monthly sewer fees $3 and the water fees $2. An ordinance enacting the raises will be drawn up and voted upon by the council after the standard three readings.

As discussed at the previous meeting, and covered in the May 27 Eagle, North Bend has not raised its rates in 10 years. The Nebraska Rural Water Association recommended North Bend raise its water and sewer rates a combined total of $11. The city is also in the process of reviewing its entire sewer system and making repairs in coming years.

Mayor Jeff Kluthe started the discussion by suggesting a $10 raise, with the sewer and water rates going up $5 each.

“When you do something, you have to do it,” Kluthe said. “You don’t dilly-dally around. We are low compared to other towns.”

Council members thought that would be too much to throw at residents at one time.

“I think it’s hard to justify a huge raise when we’ve been paying off debt faster than anybody in the state,” Tom Mullally said.

North Bend used its sales tax to pay off a $1.3 million debt on a new water tower and other water and sewer system renovations in 10 years, about a decade ahead of schedule.

Mullally suggested raising the total fees by $2 and doing the same next year. Kluthe said he was not in favor of that and councilman Tim Blackmon said it wasn’t enough.

After some more back and forth, the council agreed to raise the fees a total of $5.

The council also agreed to add some orange to the next painting of the water tower.

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