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Cloverdale council OKs slightly smaller spike in water rates

A crowd of more than 100 filled the Cloverdale City Council chamber Wednesday night, mostly to register objections to hefty water and sewer rate increases.

The City Council was able to lessen the sting by approving new rates that are a little less than what originally was proposed for the first year, but utility bills still will spike.

Water rates will increase 55 percent and sewer by 20 percent, beginning in April, part of a series of hikes recommended by consultants.

"No one likes what we're having to deal with. It's not an easy thing to resolve," Mayor Joe Palla said of the need for the increases, what he said was necessary for quality of life and economic development.

"We've had some tough votes. This is the toughest I've ever seen," Vice Mayor Carol Russell said before joining her colleagues in the 5-0 vote to approve the new rates.

The combined water and sewer bill for a typical residence, now $58.92 per month, will increase to $85.79, rather than the $91.21 previously proposed.

"We are being responsive to the community and coming back with an adjusted lower rate," Public Works Director Craig Scott said of the smaller increase that ended up being approved.

But those who spoke Wednesday weren't appeased.

"It seems it will be a real heavy burden you're laying on us," said Ellie Strauss, a Cloverdale resident. "I'll never understand why you didn't do some incremental increase."

Resident Roberta Callahan told the City Council the rate hikes are "unbearable" and suggested the city instead sell surplus property to help offset the rate hikes.

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