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Medford considers sewer rate increase

Medford residents are facing a monthly sewer rate increase beginning next month, followed by another increase next year.

The proposed increases are to cover the additional &

36;350,000 per year the city is being charged by the Bear Creek Valley Sanitary Authority to upgrade sewer lines.

If approved by the Medford City Council at their meeting Thursday, there will be an 8 percent increase beginning March 1, and a 10 percent increase beginning March 1, 2004. For single-family homes, that means the base charge would increase from &

36;6.14 to &

36;6.63 the first year. In the second year, beginning March 1, 2004, the base charge would increase to &

36;7.29. Also proposed is a rate increase from 51 to 55 cents per thousand gallons for single-family homes the first year. Businesses would also face a base charge increase, but already pay 55 cents per thousand gallons.

The increases will fund BCVSA's project to upgrade lines that carry the bulk of the region's sewage to the water reclamation facility.

Some of the lines are getting older and need some maintenance work and some of the lines are not large enough, said Chuck Root, BCVSA manager.

Cory Crebbin, Medford public works director, said that while Medford often increases utility rates, they still don't compare with expensive rates in other areas.

Medford rates are so low, said Crebbin. There has really not been a public outcry over utility rate increases.

In addition to Medford, BCVSA serves Central Point, White City, Eagle Point, Phoenix, Talent and some unincorporated areas. Root said they handle 15 to 20 million gallons of raw sewage per year.

It may be sewage to you, but it's bread and butter to me, Root said.

Reach reporter Meg Landers at 776-4481 or e-mail