Community Meeting Scheduled

COUNCIL SETS PUBLIC MEETING FOR FEES DISCUSSION

MYRTLE CREEK – The Myrtle Creek City Council decided Tuesday evening, March 7, to hold a public meeting for discussion of the proposed changes in water and sewer rates and the $4 public safety fee.

The council did approve the first reading of Ordinance 847 that would institute a $4 public safety fee. However, following discussion, the council decided to delay the second reading of the proposed ordinance until a public meeting could be held.

The council also heard from City Administrator Lonnie Rainville on a proposal to decrease sewer rates and increase water rates.

The public meeting to discuss both of these issues is scheduled for Thursday, March 23, at 6 p.m. at the Myrtle Creek Community Center which is located at 425 NW Second Avenue.

According to Rainville, over the past two year the City of Myrtle Creek has seen dramatic increases in its operational costs that are associated to rate increases that have been passed on from suppliers and service providers and this trend looks to continue into the next fiscal year.  Examples this year include a 23% increase in insurance rates, double digit increases in utility costs, and chemical costs for water and sewer treatment have nearly doubled.  The city is at a point that it has to look at what can be done to sustain city operations with the least amount of impact to its citizens.

The City has identified a solution which it believe is the best course forward to sustain the services provided to the citizens of Myrtle Creek.  To address the increasing costs facing public works the city has identified an opportunity to rebalance revenue received in in the water and sewer departments.  The City plans to reduce sewer rates  and at the same amount the same time increase water rate by the same amount sewer is reduced. This will allow the city to have proper funding for both the water department and sewer department.  For the citizens that have both sewer and water service there will no change in the overall monthly utility bill.

The city is also looking at fiscal constraints in its general fund budget.  The city tax rate is fixed and property taxable values are only able increase three percent per year.  As presented earlier, costs have raised at a dramatically higher rate than what revenue rate have increased.  This leaves the city two options, cut services or find alternative revenue.  The city’s largest department is its police department. Half of the general fund revenue is dedicated to its operations. The city has a commitment to continue the same level of service so to address the need for additional revenue, the City is looking to implement a $4.00 per month fee that will be applied to utility bills in the same manner as the current street fee.  This would provide the police department the needed revenue to continue operate and provide the current level of service.

During the public meeting there will time allowed for citizens to ask questions about the utility rate adjustment and public safety fee.

If you have any questions regarding these issues or the public meeting please contact Lonnie Rainville, City Administrator at (541) 863-8017.