Rate Hikes

City must meet a capital need

A 45 percent rate hike is in the pipeline for City of Hood River residents.

Come Jan. 14, citizens will have the opportunity to speak to the proposed sewer and water rate hikes that will come before the council. The increase would take effect Feb. 1.

The reasons for the increase are basically predicated on the long-term capital needs of the systems that bring tap water into our kitchens and take waste water away from our toilets.

The need for the rate increase is justified; the reasons the sewer fund is broke are wastewater under the bridge at this point. The expanded sewage treatment plant is up and running, it will serve the community for years to come, and the rate hikes are designed to pay off the resulting debt. The water increase is needed to replace a 75-year-old pipeline from the Mount Hood wells.

It is notable that the city's financial analyst has recommended the city make annual rate hikes of 5 to 15 percent, varying between residential and commercial service. The public should be encouraged to speak to that possibility, as well as the Feb. 1 increase, at January's meeting.

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Lawnmower torches Arbor Vitae on Portland Drive

The riding lawn mower driven by Norma Cannon overheated and made contact with dry arbor vitae owned by Lee and Norma Curtis, sending more than a dozen of the tightly-packed trees up in flames. The mower, visible at far right, was totaled. No one was injured; neighbors first kept the fire at bay with garden hoses and Westside and Hood River Fire Departments responded and doused the fire before it reached any structures. Westside Fire chief Jim Trammell, in blue shirt, directs firefighters. The video was taken by Capt. Dave Smith of Hood River Fire Department. Enlarge



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