September 20, 2017
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Cotati considers sewer rate hike-1992

By: Irene Hilsendager
August 18, 2017

I know that the last few issues of the Community Voice newspaper had articles concerning water and sewer rates but this is 1992.

Amending Cotati’s water service rates and introducing an ordinance to maintain existing sewer fees will be the topics of the city’s public hearings this Wednesday.

The public hearings follow a public meeting which was held last week for city council and residents to discuss the water and sewer rates and connections fees. City Engineer Paul Schoch presented studies and recommendations he had prepared.

After a four-hour study session council members informally agreed to a plan. 

Ordinances will be adopted setting the rates and connection fees for the year at the council meeting Wednesday.

A crowd of about 50 residents participated in the session, making the council aware of their discontent over the city’s continuously rising sewer fees. The council unanimously decided to dismiss Schoch’s recommendation to raise the sewer rate $3.20, which would have brought it to $37.80 for an average three-person family. 

According to Councilperson Bill Miller, who is serving his third term for the City of Cotati, in the past years only a few residents had attended the annual meeting in which Schoch presents his report on sewer costs and proposed rate increases.

If the ordinance is adopted, the city plans to utilize existing fund balance surplus from the Sewer Operation and Maintenance Fund to pay for the city’s escalating costs.

The council at the previous meeting agreed with Schoch’s recommendations regarding bimonthly water flat rates and connection fees. 

Schoch recommends raising the bimonthly flat rate $2 to $9.50, depending on the meter size.

The earliest residents would see any rate increases would be November.

The Rohnert Park City Council voted unanimously last night to initiate a new fee for developers.

The city is currently in the process of retrofitting showers and toilets in town in an effort to cut back on wastewater discharge. 

Though the program is considered a conservation effort, the savings in wastewater discharge are expected to be taken up by future development.

The retrofit idea was proposed last year when Art Condiotti and Jimmie Rogers said they would do retrofits to release enough sewer capacity to build 450 new homes.

At that time, all building projects were being put on hold, including the last phase of the Windsong townhouse development in the M section, a project which had already been approved.

Randall Group, the developers for that project received final approval from the council earlier this month after their regional manager wrote to the council stating that the developer was on the verge of losing about $500,000 because of the delay. 

The final phase of that project consists of 156 units. In a report released earlier this month, City Engineer Ron Brust that the city has capacity for 157 units.

Brust says that there is extra capacity as a result of retrofits, telling the council last night that the reduction in flow could be about 20 gallons per person per day. He added that he is still figuring exactly how much more capacity has been released as a result of the program. About 2,000 toilet retrofits have been done and 900 showers have been retrofitted.

Continued next week.

Irene Hilsendager’s column each week touches on moments in the history of Cotati, Rohnert Park and Penngrove.