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Sewer Rate Ballot Is Council Topic
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For what will be seemingly the 'umpteenth' time, sewer rate increases will be on the agenda of Monday's regular Riverbank City Council meeting. The council meets on the second and fourth Monday of the month at 7 p.m. in chambers at City Hall North.

"It looks like a re-run of the last agenda," said City Manager Rich Holmer.

Councilmember Jesse James White has asked the council to discuss putting the proposed sewer rate hike before all the voters in a general election rather than just before property owners, which is all that is required under Proposition 218.

Riverbank showed minimal protest in the two Proposition 218 elections held to date. Only 12 people of those canvassed voted against raising the rates. Holmer noted, however, it can go the other way.

The City of Jackson, for example, produced a majority vote against raising rates in a Proposition 218 election. Jackson is a small Amador County town about the size of Escalon.

Dixon, on the other hand, passed a vote to raise rates. Then the residents forced city officials to put it on a general ballot in a referendum, which rescinded the rate hike.

The situation was again reversed when the local Regional Water Quality Control Board fined the city $227,000 for failing to improve its sewer system. Then the citizens backed down and accepted the higher rates.

The Water Quality Control Board can and does inflict heavy fines, Homer noted. He was serving local government in Folsom at the time the board fined Folsom $700,000 for allowing sewage to get into the river.

In other items on Monday's agenda, the council is expected to receive and approve a budget for the Local Redevelopment Authority. The LRA will administer the former Army ammunition plant that is now under city control and due to become an industrial park.

Council members will review the Public Resources Policy that determines how much the city pays for the meals of council members attending out of county conferences or workshops. Riverbank's current per diem is $50 per day.

They also will revise a grant application to the Office of Economic Adjustment to pay for a few Army members who will stay on at the plant for a few more months to expedite moving out Army-owned equipment.