By Paul Daquilante • Staff Writer • 

Amity residents will pay more for water

AMITY - Beginning Jan. 1, the base residential water rate will rise by $5 each year for the next three years. The Amity City Council approved a resolution at this month's meeting that OKs the rate hike.

Amity is working to upgrade its water system. The city draws its water from the South Yamhill River.

The current intake system is a serious concern because it is not the right size for the river. The future plan is to move the intake point to a deeper and faster running portion of the river, which should improve capacity and functionality.

Other portions of the project will upgrade the water treatment facility and repair and improve the reservoir; increasing capacity, improving flow and simplifying maintenance requirements.

The city will use several different funding sources to complete the project, including a $1.6 million U.S. Department of Agriculture/Rural Development loan.

Amity is required to have utility rates that cover repayment of the loan, City Administrator Michael Thomas wrote in his report to the council. The city makes annual payments of $67,918.

There must be utility rates in place prior to when the first payment is made to ensure the loan can be repaid, Thomas wrote. The current rate structure does not meet USDA requirements to meet the loan obligation.

So, it is recommended that effective Jan. 1, the base water rate will increase by $5, from $38.56 to $43.56. Increases to $48.56 and $53.56 would follow in 2021 and 2022.

"If we do not do this, we're going to have a difficult time figuring out how to do the things that need to be done," Mayor Michael Cape said.

Residents will continue to pay the current monthly usage rate of $4.07 per 1,000 gallons.

In other business, it was decided the current $10 a month public safety fee charged to residents that helps fund two Yamhill County sheriff's deputies will remain in place. However, that amount will be reevaluated after the next YCSO contract is negotiated.

The city began contracting with the sheriff's office for law enforcement services after disbanding its longstanding police department.

A citizen addressed the council and said she is "very disappointed" with service that's being provided.

"We're paying all this money and not getting any service," she said. "During the middle of the night we do not see anyone."

Cape explained to her that the contract with the sheriff's office does not provide for patrol service on a 24/7 basis.

Another citizen characterized Nursery Street as a "breezeway" of traffic. She said vehicles go too fast, and it's an issue that must be recognized and handled by YCSO.

The council will meet next at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 2.



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