Salem water, sewer rates going up

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The City of Salem has plans to increase the base rate and rate per-gallon charge for residential and commercial water and sewer customers in Salem. The topic was discussed at the Dec. 13 city council meeting.

"This is the first increase in several years," Salem Mayor Gary Clayton said.

"The small increase is necessary due to the increase in doing business -- labor, fuel, supplies, licensing fees things a city needs to operate and our rates are very favorable when compared to other communities across the state," he said.

The specific numbers for the increase will be given to Salem City Attorney Dwayne Plumlee. He will produce an ordinance that will be acted on at the next Salem City Council meeting Jan. 24.

After the ordinance is published there will be a 30 day period for people to object to the proposed rate. If no problems arise, the ordinance will go into effect.

"We try to design the rate structure to take into account the citizens. We have a large population of elderly and fixed income families. We do not want to burden the people who can least afford it," Clayton said.

The cost of the city's maintenance is increasing due to the age of the city's water and sewage systems, according to Clayton. "We get a double dose, the age of the system requires more frequent maintenance, and the cost of that maintenance is going up," he said.

The revenue generated by the increase will be enough to maintain stability in the city's water and sewage system, according to Clayton. "The increase will not provide any extra money, but it will help hold things together," Clayton said.

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