Among the small-ticket items in the Portland Water Bureau's budget that tick off grumpy ratepayers are the city's many decorative fountains, which the Water Bureau has maintained under a longstanding agreement with city parks officials.

That cost to ratepayers is such a frequent source of grumbling, it rated a mention in Auditor LaVonne Griffin-Valade's recent report on how ratepayer dollars are spent on non-ratepayer projects."Water ratepayers have also assumed increasing expenses for parks and planning programs," the audit reads. "These include the cost of maintaining the City's decorative fountains for the Parks Bureau."

Well, today, City Council is prepared to bring two more fountains under the domain of the Water Bureau. That would be the Teachers Fountain in Director Park and the Bill Naito Legacy Fountain, if City Council approves its consent agenda this morning.

The additional cost of operating and maintaining the fountains is estimated to be $61,429, and it will be funded with ratepayer money. Commissioner Randy Leonard says that figure is inflated; the Water Bureau won't hire additional employees to maintain the fountains but staff time is figured in the calculation.