Enterprise residents will see their sewer rates increase by 1.5% beginning July 1, but water rates will stay the same after a 4-2 vote by the Enterprise City Council on Monday, Feb. 10.

The sewer rates will increase another 1.5% in July 2021 and another 1.5% in July 2022, according to Resolution 650. Both water and sewer rates will be up for review each January to determine if revenue from the rate increases is sufficient or should be changed, according to a recommendation by city Recorder/Administrator Lacey McQuead.

“We have to start somewhere,” McQuead said. “We can look at it next year and see if it’s working. If not, we can change it.”

The rate increase is expected to mean about 89 cents per one single-family residential household (Equivalent Dwelling Unit – EDU) per month to city residents, McQuead estimated. The increase will be 91 cents per EDU in 2021 and 92 cents per EDU in 2022.

Under the resolution, the increases were approved as percentages, not actual dollar amounts, McQuead said.

Councilmen Chris Pritchard and Bruce Bliven voted against the rate hike. Councilmen Micah Agnew, David Elliott, Larry Christman and Mayor Stacey Karvoski all voted in favor of the rate increase. Council President Jenni Word was not present at Monday’s meeting.

Elliot noted that the city needs to keep abreast of maintaining essential equipment.

“It’s the basic elements we need to cover,” he said.

Public Works Director Ronnie Neil gave as an example the four blowers in the sewer plant, each of which costs about $45,000 to replace. Although the units are showing no signs of needing replacement, if they should go out, the system wouldn’t operate properly without them. Other major pieces of equipment at the sewer plant include the dewatering unit, at $235,000; the rag-removal system, at $60,000; and the backup generator, at $90,000.

Another need for the city will be to replace Neil and the current sewer plant operator if they should leave. Although neither have announced any such plans, the city will one day need to have someone who is properly accredited to run the sewer plant according to Oregon Department of Environmental Quality standards.

Elliott noted that when that occurs, the city will want to hire someone local who won’t just get their accreditation here and move on.

“We want to get someone local who will stay,” he said.

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