PACHECO — Opting for a lower first-year rate hike than proposed, the Central Contra Costa Sanitary District voted Thursday afternoon to raise sewer rates 5.5 percent for residential and commercial customers in July, and another 7 percent in July 2018.

The increases will help pay for Central Sanitary’s plans to spend $873 million to replace aging pipes, treatment equipment and other infrastructure over the next 10 years. That includes adding sewage-treatment capacity ahead of expected residential and business growth in the area, and to add and upgrade equipment to increase energy efficiency and to meet requirements of future environmental regulations.

The rate hikes are expected to generate $12.1 million in the first two years.

The original plan was for a 7 percent raise both years. But after district General Manager Roger Bailey told the board members of a newfound $2.7 million in budget savings, they voted — after more than an hour of going through various scenarios and proposed-but-failed motions — 4-1 to go with the smaller hike the first year. The 7 percent jump in 2018-19 may also come down, depending how various future scenarios play out.

“The grayness we have now will become a bit clearer a year from now,” board President Paul Causey said.

Central Sanitary spokeswoman Emily Barnett said Wednesday the added revenue is needed to keep its system of pipelines, treatment facilities and related technology as up-to-date as possible. “We believe our customers expect a certain service level, and that we need a system in place that serves them,” she said.

For a single-family house or mobile home, the current $503-a-year sewer service fee will go up to $530 starting July 1.

Rate increases for commercial customers will be more complex, based on the square footage of the business, the amount of water they use and the level of treatment that water …read more

Source:: East Bay – Science

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