Minden trash, water rates increase 5 percent

Minden trash and water rates increase 5 percent beginning today, reflecting the first hike in two years.

Town board members held a special meeting Monday to implement the rate hikes which amount to $1.40 a month per household for water and 90 cents a month for trash.

Residents who paid $27.55 a month for water will now pay $28.95; trash rates increase from $17.50 per single can to $18.40. The rate for an extra can goes up 5 cents to $1.25 per month.

"I am one of the proponents of the 5 percent increase," said town board member Bob Hadfield.

"We did not increase a year ago to help our residents deal with the declining economy. I realize the economy has not improved for everybody, but our costs did go up."

Resident Beverly Giannopulos asked the board to consider a 3 percent increase.

"I don't think we can play the make-up game by asking for 5 percent for this year," she said. "A lot of people out there are having a hard time. They're not getting a 5 percent raise. It may mean the difference between a loaf of bread a week or a gallon of milk."

Board member Ross Chichester said the difference between 3 percent and 5 percent in the water hike was 55 cents a month.

"What we've been doing is using reserves to pay for operation and maintenance. The system should be paying for itself," he said.

Hadfield said a major source of reserves had been hook-up fees for new residential customers. With the downturn in the economy, developments like LaCosta and Monterra weren't producing the new construction.

"We had to be prepared to serve water, but those homes didn't get built. We didn't get the hookup fees," he said. "We believed we would have growth. Everything was ready to go."

Hadfield said the town would have implemented an increase in 2008 if officials could have predicted the downturn.

"If we underfund this year, it just makes it worse next year," Hadfield said.

He said the trash service faced the same increase in costs.


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