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Hillsboro, Peabody water rates to rise

Increase in state charge
for reservoir water blamed

Staff writer

Hillsboro residents will see increases in their water and sewer bills as soon as January after city council members voted Tuesday to raise the rates for Hillsboro and Peabody.

The rate increases, first discussed two weeks ago, are to keep up with rising costs of processing water and sewage.

Hillsboro’s base rate for households and businesses is $29 a month, including 1,000 gallons.

The minimum monthly water charge won’t change, but usage charges will go up from $6.05 per 1,000 gallons to $6.58 per 1,000 gallons.

Rate changes will take effect Jan. 1 and appear on February bills.

“After our discussion at the last meeting, we kept our existing rate structure the way it is, but we moved forward with the rate change of 52 cents a 1,000 gallons,” city administrator Matt Stiles said.

Mayor Lou Thurston blamed an increase in what the state charges Hillsboro for water it takes from Marion Reservoir.

“A lot of this is due to the current ‘negotiated’ rate with the state,” Thurston said.

He said he thought residents would rather see smaller, incremental increases than large increases.

A separate ordinance increased sewer charges. The city’s minimum monthly sewer charge of $31.68 per month won’t change. Usage charges will go up from $3.98 per 1,000 gallons to $4.38 per 1,000 gallons.

Because the city uses a winter average system for residential customers, they won’t see a change in sewer rates on their bills until May.

Commercial and industrial customers will see the increase Jan. 1.

According to Stiles’ projections, customers who use 1,200 gallons or less of water will see a total increase of $1.11 a month. Customers who use 2,900 gallons a month will see an increase of $2.69 a month. Customers who use 5,700 gallons a month will see a total increase of $5.30 a month.

Council members also increased Peabody water rates by the same 53 cents per 1,000 gallons.

Stiles said 2014 was the last time Hillsboro increased water rates for Peabody.

Peabody’s cost will be $3.21 per 1,000 gallons up to 50 million gallons. Any water above that volume would be at $3.70 per 1,000 gallons.

In the first 11 months of the year, Peabody used 29.4 million gallons of water at a cost of $78,794.68.

In a normal year Peabody uses 34 million gallons a year. Under the increased rate, Peabody would pay $109,140 for 34 million gallons of water, starting with April’s billing.

“It does tie directly back to our production costs and what we think we’re going to need,” Stiles said.

Last modified Nov. 22, 2023

 

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