Some Vancouver councilors wary of proposed utility rate hikes

first_imgFaced with a proposed increase of 5 percent each on water and surface-water rates in 2013 and 2014 — as well as smaller increases of sewer and solid waste rates — a few Vancouver City councilors got cold feet Monday night during a workshop on the city manager’s recommended two-year budget.The council had instructed the public works staff to move to a pay-as-you-go system for maintenance, as opposed to incurring debt by taking out loans or bonds.The increases would boost the monthly water/sewer/surface water bill for a typical single-family residence from the current $58.43 to $60.52 in 2013 and $62.68 in 2014, or a total monthly difference from 2012 to 2014 of $4.25.The monthly solid waste rates would increase in 2013 by 38 cents for a residential customer who has garbage, recycling and yard debris service.After seeing the policy in black-and-white, Councilors Jeanne Harris, Jeanne Stewart and Bill Turlay expressed concerns.“I really can’t tell you where I’m at on this budget right now,” said Harris, who added she has always been wary of pay-as-you-go.Turlay, who successfully campaigned against debt last year, and complimented the pay-as-you-go system the day he was sworn into office, said Monday, “I wish I had simple answers but I don’t. There are no simple answers.” He said he doesn’t want the city to take on additional debt, but understands why it might have to be an option.last_img

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