City staff and the Sisters City Council are taking a hard look at the city's sewer rates.
At a workshop Thursday evening, the council explored a couple of options to bring the sewer fund back to health. According to City Manager Andrew Gorayeb, the fund's gross revenues are currently budgeted at approximately $688,000; they need to hit $768,000 to bring the fund into balance.
Sewer rates were pegged at $39 per EDU (equivalent dwelling unit) when the municipal wastewater system was established in 2000. In 2009, that rate was reduced to $35.70 to compensate for a water rates increase.
According to Gorayeb, the council is looking at a couple of options to increase gross revenues in the sewer fund. One option is a straight rate increase to $40 per EDU. Another possibility is to change the way the city calculates what each account owes.
The city currently bases its charges off per-EDU usage in January, February, and March - for most accounts the lowest usage months. The city could change that methodology to a calculation based on a year-round average of usage.
The change in methodology could modify the requirement for a per-EDU rate increase. City staff will research the impacts of rate and/or calculation methodology changes and present findings to the council for possible action at the first council meeting in August.