Sewer and water rates in the city of Enterprise and water rates in the city of Wallowa are scheduled for increases in November. Joseph raised its base monthly water rate from $13 to $20 in July and is not anticipating any new increases.

Going through the resolution process, Enterprise City Administrator Michele Young says the amounts of increases are not definitive at this time, but anticipates that new rates will be adopted at the city council's Nov. 10 meeting.

Enterprise charges its sewer and water users on a bimonthly basis, something that could be changed to monthly billings in 2004. Their proposed increases, with the exception of base sewer charges outside the city and connection fees, do not appear to be major. The base price for water inside the city, for a bimonthly charge, is proposed to go up $1.70 from $33.60 to $35.30. The outside-the-city base price for two months of water would go up $2.10 from $41.50 to $43.60. The city base rate for sewer services, a bimonthly proposal which could still be changed by committee, would be increased $3.15 from $26.35 to $29.50.

Because the base sewer rate for residents outside of the city has not kept up with the times, said Young, a $9.45 bimonthly increase is proposed. That increase would alter the billing from $28.35 to $37.80. The same reasoning would be applied to first hookup connection fees inside the city which would be increased from $350 to $550. Outside the city connection fees would be increased from $1,300 to $1,350.

Wallowa is going through the ordinance process and had its first reading at the Oct. 14 city council meeting. They expect to adopt water rate changes Nov. 11. The water increase would go up from $14 per month to $16.50 per month and would authorize the automatic increase of water billing at $1 per year for the next five years, then come up for review. The sewer rate will remain constant at $30 each month.

Other related increases at Wallowa have to do with temporary shut off charges.

Though no shut off fee will continue to be the norm, those who do temporarily choose to shut off their services will be billed at $30 a month, below the $46.50 monthly water and sewer charge if they remain connected. This change mostly affects people who migrate to warmer climates in the winter and is justified because the city maintains services to the property line. Under current billing practices the person who disconnects the services is neither billed for the disconnect nor billed while absent from the community.

Enterprise bases its water billing on a cubic foot basis while Joseph charges are by the gallon. Wallowa does not meter its water.

Enterprise's bimonthly base rate for water goes up to 1,000 cubic feet while Joseph's $20 base water rate covers 2,000 gallons of water every month.

The city of Joseph's sewer rate is a flat $12 per month.

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