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Council Approves 2016-17 Utility Rate Adjustment

By Lindsay Wochnick

The Mayor and City Council have approved the sewer, stormwater, and water bill rate adjustment for fiscal year 2016-17. For the third straight year in a row, the utility rate increase remains under five percent for water consumers.

Beginning July 1, 2016, the typical residential single-family will experience a 4.45 percent or $4.42 increase per month on their utility bill.

Approximately 33 percent of the monthly bill charges will be dedicated to water services while 67 percent devoted to sewer and stormwater costs.

The water portion of the rate adjustment will support: 

  • Continued investment in our water system, including the two water sources, 41 pump stations, 66 tanks and covered reservoirs, 2,330 miles of pipe, 178,500 meters, 14,350 hydrants, and drinking fountains 
  • Maintaining and strengthening aging infrastructure, targeting the more than 100-year old pipes under Portland’s streets    
  • Raising sufficient revenues to ensure financial stability and resiliency
  • Supporting operating expenses to safely deliver water from the Bull Run Watershed to customer’s taps 24/7
  • Addressing debt service related to water bonds that support funding a portion of larger scale construction and capital maintenance projects
  • Funding essential capital projects, such as the Washington Park Reservoir Improvements and the Willamette River Crossing projects

Setting Rates
In Portland, utility rates are set through a yearlong process, beginning with the Bureau of Environmental Services (BES) and the Portland Water Bureau developing and submitting  budget requests with direction from the Commissioner-in-Charge. The Portland City Council then reviews and approves the sewer and stormwater rates and the water rates to raise sufficient revenues to fund the budgets for the following fiscal year.

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