RIVERBANK -- Residents can tell City Hall tonight what they think about a proposal to raise their monthly sewer bills by almost $6 over three years.
The City Council will hold a public hearing for residents to comment, but council members won't vote on the increase until their March 22 meeting, City Manager Rich Holmer said.
That's because the council will be at four members Monday because Councilman Dave White is on vacation, Holmer said, adding he wants to postpone the vote until the council is at full strength.
State law requires a four-fifths council vote to raise sewer rates.
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State law requires Riverbank to let residents protest the proposed increase. Holmer said the city notified about 9,000 property owners and renters and about 18 have protested.
This is the city's fourth attempt to raise sewer rates, a move city officials say is needed to fund upgrades and bring the waste-water treatment system into compliance with a state mandate.
White and his grandson and fellow council member Jesse James White have opposed most recent attempts to raise rates.
Jesse James White has questioned how city staff spent the proceeds of a 2005 sewer rate increase and the wisdom of raising rates during a recession.
City officials say the increase is needed in part to pay for an $820,000 state-mandated sewer line inspection, management and maintenance plan.
The city received a notice of violation Oct. 12 from the California Regional Water Quality Control Board for not completing the sewer line work by its Aug. 2 deadline and could be fined.
Wendy Wyels, a supervisor with the water board, said Wednesday that her agency has not taken any action against Riverbank because it's making progress and keeping her agency apprised of its actions.
The proposed increase would raise monthly bills from $20.15 a month to $26.05 a month for residential users over three years.
The council also is expected to:
Hold a public hearing on raising the fee to use the large gazebo at Jacob Myers Park to $100 for residents and $200 for nonresidents for events with more than 50 people. The fees will stay the same -- $50 for residents and $100 for nonresidents -- for events with 50 or fewer people.
While sitting as the Local Redevelopment Authority, consider awarding a $240,000 contract to EMCOR Group Inc. to manage the former Army ammo plant for 15 months. The city expects to take over the plant April 1.
The council meets in Council Chambers, 6707 Third St., at 7 p.m.