Craig City Council members have been discussing increasing wastewater fees since October, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that they took the first official step Tuesday night.
Council members voted unanimously to increase wastewater rates 60 cents for both residential and commercial customers. The increase amounts to a 4 percent hike.
"This increases the wastewater base rate by 4 percent, which is comparable to the increase in the wastewater operational fund," City Manager Jim Ferree said. "With our reserves declining, we felt it was warranted."
Wastewater customers pay a flat rate of $14.70 a month for service. The increase brings that fee to $15.30 a month.
The increase would generate $32,498, making up for an anticipated $27,000 shortfall in the wastewater department.
"I think we need it," Councilor Tom Gilchrist said. "We've talked about it. We've watched our operational increases eat into our reserves long enough."
Customers last saw an increase in their wastewater rates in January of 2002 when they also increased 60 cents to keep in tune with rising operational costs.
The change isn't final until it's approved on its second reading, scheduled for Dec. 9. If approved, the increase won't go into effect until Jan. 1.