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Lathrop Council to decide on water, sewer hikes tonight

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POSTED March 3, 2009 4:24 a.m.
LATHROP – The Lathrop City Council could make a decision tonight on the proposed rate hikes for water and sewer services over a period of three or five years.
The council delayed their vote at their last regular meeting in February after nearly three-dozen residents, many of them on low or fixed incomes, pleaded for the council to deny the suggested $2 to $5 boost to their monthly utility bills saying this would pose additional hardships to their already overstretched personal budgets. Part of the decision the council members have to make tonight is whether those increases should be for a three-year or five-year duration.
The city needs to raise at least $1 million a year to make sure residents will be able to continue flushing their toilets and drinking clean water out of their faucets or be forced to dip into its general fund which, under present circumstances, it may not be able to do with the looming budgetary shortfalls. The proposed rate increases are designed to bridge that financial gap.
Tonight’s discussion of this issue is a continuation of the public hearing that was conducted during the last meeting in February. The council’s hope at that time was to see if city staff would be able to find other possible ways to further trim the proposed rate increases.
Water and sewer bills are not the only major issues being considered tonight by the council. Another public hearing will be conducted on the Planning Commission’s recommendation to approve the proposed amended code which would allow businesses in the city more flexibility in the use of temporary advertising banner signs. The purpose of this action is to assist the city’s business owners especially during these hard economic times while, at the same time, avoiding such problems as eye sores to develop in the town’s business districts.
Another public hearing scheduled for tonight deals with the continuing parking problems along the city’s major traffic corridors including Towne Centre Drive, Golden Valley Parkway and Manthey Road. The discussion is over the proposal to install No Parking Zone signs along these and other busy thoroughfares.
The council meeting will begin at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall, 390 Towne Centre Drive at Mossdale Landing.
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