The City Council will consider the issues of Sewer Rates, Expenditures & the In-Pipe Technologies (IPT) alternatives at a Special Meeting, Monday, July 14 starting at 7:00 pm.
Each of those subjects were originally intended to be on the agenda of the July 8 Regular Meeting, but city officials chose to take up the rates and IPT matters at the Special Meeting – largely due to the expected time required to consider the two issues.
The city only put the contracting for engineering expenditures on the July 8 Regular Meeting. The Council chambers were again packed over the issue – with the public speakers demanding the IPT alternative and the rates be considered before any expenditure commitments were made.
The Special Meeting has the IPT presentation first on the Agenda. That company has a process for injecting a proprietary strain on bacteria into sewer pipes which pre-digest sewage greatly reducing the volume of waste that would need treatment at the sewer plant.
They also have an additional Ferrate treatment system that reduces the heavy metals – including Boron – and other contaminants to lower levels than the much more expensive “Activated Sludge” system the city is pushing. All at a lower cost than the city’s proposed $30 million plan.
Second on Monday’s Agenda are the sewer rates – and whether the City Council should put the matter on the ballot for a vote of the public. If the council refuses, there is likely to be another initiative rolling back the fees. If proponents of that initiative collect over 1,500 valid signatures, the matter would be put on a Special Election ballot – which would cost the city significantly more than if the council went the General Election route in November.
Sewer rates were rolled back in 2006 after the City Council at that time has tripled the rates to $45 a month to pay for a $40 million 8 mile pipe line to dump the city’s processed waste water (effluent) where groundwater is less sensitive to the pollutants in the effluent.
Even the Water Quality Board called that a “band-aid” approach. The roll back advocates then asserted the pipe line would not remove any of the contaminants.
Roll back advocates asserted that pipe line, proposed by former City Manager Warren Salmons – was a foolish waste of money, and that the Water Quality Board would likely require the city to spend millions more to actually produce cleaner effluent.
The voters repelled the rates then by about a 60% vote.