Consultants recommend bump to upgrade water and sewer systems

Cloverdale residents enjoy the lowest water and sewer rates in Sonoma County, but it won't last much longer.

City consultants are recommending a 67 percent increase in water rates and 25 percent for wastewater.

The increases, which could go into effect as soon as April, would raise the typical residential combined monthly bill from the current $59 to $91.

The proposed hike was discussed at last week's City Council meeting, although further public hearings will be held before any increases are adopted.

"A lot of residents showed up very concerned, opposed to the radical increases and questioning the need for the increases," said Mayor Joe Palla.

Palla noted that it has been more than seven years since the last rate increase.

Meanwhile, other cities have raised their rates.

Healdsburg has the highest monthly water and sewer bill at $137, followed by Santa Rosa at $116, according to the Reed Group consultants.

The second lowest rate in Sonoma County, after Cloverdale, is Windsor at $78.

Consultants said the increases are needed for maintenance and system upgrades. In addition to the steep increase this year, they recommend 5 percent increases every year through July 2016.

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