For most senior citizens and disabled residents who qualify for the state's homestead exemption, the impact will be a little more than
The massive project, which began in 2003 after 11 years of litigation, is required by court order to resolve federal Clean Water Act violations against the city for decades of filthy sewage spills into the
"We're winding it up. It's something we have to do," said
The city will be in default of the court order if the rate plan isn't approved, exposing it to the risk of higher rates, said
Reducing the amount of raw, human waste that fouls tributaries is the cornerstone of litigation brought years ago by the
City voters agreed in 2002 -- by a vote of 15,550 to 4,209 -- to move forward with the plan, which calls for unprecedented improvements to the city's
The project will eliminate overflows in all but rare and major storm events. For decades, untreated waste spilled into the tributaries after nearly every rain.
The rate increases are nothing new: They have been phased in since construction began, often at higher rates.
In an hour-long presentation to Blade editorial and news members Thursday,
They agreed it won't be cheap, though: The new rate plan calls for 7.1 percent annual increases through 2019 and a 7.9 percent increase in 2020.
By 2020, average homeowners in the city -- defined as those who produce 3,000 cubic feet of sewage per quarter, a volume typical for a family of four -- will pay
Those who qualify for the homestead exemption would pay
The proposal comes a year after the city enacted higher rates for water for long-overdue improvements to its
City council members will discuss the proposed sewage rates at a committee meeting at
The timetable laid out by the utilities department calls for the rate plan to get its first reading before the full council on
Officials said they need the rate plan finalized and approved by then to meet deadlines for loan applications this fall that will keep one of the biggest phases of the project -- construction of an
Contractors have been lined up to begin work in November.
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