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City Approves $18 Sewer Charge Increase

Potential hike lowered from $20 after checking estimates with Central San.

The city has approved an $18 annual increase in sewer service charges.

That represents a reduction of two dollars in increase from earlier projections. That’s because Central Contra Costa Sanitary District had reduced its sewage treatment charge passed on to Concord from earlier projections, Acting City Engineer Danea Gemmell told the Concord City Council Tuesday.

The minimum charge for a property goes from $306 to $324. This remains the third lowest rate in the Bay Area, Gemmell said.

Theresa Karr of the California Apartment Association spoke at the Tuesday public hearing. “We were never opposed to the increase,” she said. “We know you have to take care of your sewer lines.”

Karr said that multiple housing units are different than single-family homes and the association feels the billing should be differentiated to reflect that.

“Owners of large apartment complexes count every penny,” she said.

The city sent out notices of a potential $20 increase and Tuesday’s public hearing on the increase, under the auspices of Proposition 218 (1996). The city received 16 letters of protest, Gemmell said.

A year from now, Gemmell said, the engineering group might come back to the city with a proposal for three years of increases to only use the expensive, cumbersome notification process of Prop. 218 once instead of three times in three years.

“If you come back with a multiyear plan, I think that’s fine,” said Councilman Dan Helix. He commended Gemmell for “doing your homework” and checking the latest Central San rate, enabling the 2-dollar reduction in this year’s increase.

The council unanimously approved the increase Tuesday.

Part of the increase is going toward banking funds fort due to start in 2012.

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