May 17th, 2010 | by BETH SLOVIC News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, City Hall

City Hall: Fritz and Saltzman Push Sewer-Rate Compromise

Bureau of Environmental Services "Rosie"

Mayor Sam Adams is expected to release a "recalibrated" 2010-11 budget very soon. Meantime, Commissioners Dan Saltzman and Amanda Fritz are pushing ahead with a compromise on next year's sewer rates, an as-yet unresolved element of the mayor's proposed budget.

This year, as part of a regularly scheduled rate review, the Bureau of Environmental Services asked the mayor to increase ratepayers' bills by 6.9 percent on July 1 as part of his budget. But Adams, seeking to mollify ratepayers angry about his February plan to use sewer money to support bike infrastructure, declined to accept BES's proposal. On May 7, when he released his proposed budget, Adams proposed raising rates by only 6.1 percent. (Adams did approve the Water Bureau's full rate increase of 12.9 percent.)

This Wednesday, City Council will consider a compromise rate increase of 6.35 percent for sewer users. Given the timing of the vote, one week after last Wednesday's flare-up over cops, it could get interesting. A 5-0 vote would send a signal commissioners are ready to move on from last week's controversies.

Photo of "Rosie," the machine that digs sewer tunnels in Portland, from the Bureau of Environmental Services' website.
 
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