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Council Pushes Ahead With Sewer Review
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Though there wasn't a full council on hand for the March 8 session, Riverbank City Council members hosted the first reading of an ordinance proposing amended sewer rates and charges. Additional action is possible at the Monday night meeting, set for March 22.

"They opened the public hearing, heard comment and continued the public hearing until the 22nd," explained City Manager Rich Holmer.

Council members have been debating the rate hikes for months and Holmer said it definitely is down to crunch time to take action.

"If we want to avoid penalties and system failures, we've got to step up and take care of this," he said.

Some of the additional revenue would help finance improvements to the system, which he said are badly needed.

"Some of the pipes in the ground are very old," Holmer said.

Monthly rates, currently at $20.15 for residential and commercial, would rise over the next few years, topping out at a proposed $26.05 per month in the 2012-2013 fiscal year.

"The rates would start July 1 of the 2010-2011 fiscal year," explained Holmer.

With the city's billing cycle, however, ratepayers wouldn't see any change reflected in their rates until the September billing.

Other rates changing include volume rates for offices, Laundromats, retail, markets without delis, auto service, schools - with and without cafeterias, hospitals and assisted living, hotels and motels, markets with delis and restaurants with full kitchens.

Holmer said he is optimistic for adoption of the newly revised rates at the March 22 meeting. Residents will have an additional chance to comment at a public hearing Monday night before any action is taken by the council.

In other business, Holmer updated the council on an upcoming session on pedestrian safety, scheduled for Tuesday, March 23 at the Scout Hall. The meting will run from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Holmer, along with representatives from several city departments will gather for a session on pedestrian safety and ways to improve it, with the city currently working with Caltrans on ways to address safety concerns in several areas along Highway 108.

The next regular council meeting on March 22 will also include a closed session for routine personnel performance evaluations, said Holmer, including Community Development Director J.D. Hightower and Police Chief Bill Pooley.