MCSD to consider sewer rate hike tonight

Jack Durham
Mad River Union

McKINLEYVILLE – Residents of McKinleyville will likely see significant increases in their sewer bills over the next five years.

The McKinleyville Community Services District (MCSD) is proposing to raise rates 20 percent in the 2015/2016 fiscal year and 20 percent the following fiscal year. After that, sewer customers may see 10 percent increased every year for three years.

The whopping increases would pay for a portion of a $16.6 million upgrade to the MCSD Wastewater Treatment Plant at Hiller Park along with the increased operations and maintenance costs. The plant would be transformed from a pond system to a state-of-the-art mechanical treatment system. The purpose of the upgrade is to keep the district in compliance with ever-stricter state regulations. Failure to stay in compliance could result in thousands of dollars in fines for each day the district fails to meet discharge requirements.

The increase would also pay for infrastructure improvements to the rest of the sewer system.

A public hearing on the proposed rate hike will be held at the MCSD Board of Directors meeting tonight, April 1, starting at 7 p.m. at Azalea Hall, 1620 Pickett Rd., McKinleyville.

For an average single family home using 800 cubic feet of water per month, the sewer portion of the MCSD’s monthly bill in the coming fiscal year would increase from $29.49 to $36.55, an increase of $7.06.

Under Prop. 218, residents can stop the increase if written protests are received from residents representing a majority of the affected parcels in town. The deadline for submitting protests and the final public hearing will be June 3. That hearing begins at 7 p.m., also at Azalea Hall.

Detailed information about the rate increase, including a financial analysis, is available at mckinleyvillecsd.com.

Also at tonight’s meeting, the board will discuss a proposal to install solar panels at the sewer plant.

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