By Starla Pointer • Staff Writer • 

Lafayette will go back to former water rates

Lafayette residents will see new, lower water bills for August, the city council decided Thursday night.

In a 3-1 vote, the council decided to throw out the August bills and revert to the former rate structure for water service. However, council members also added two monthly surcharges, $15 for debt service and $5 for general maintenance, so $20 will be added to the newly printed bills.

No one will be charged a late fee for August, the council said, and no one will have their water shut off for paying later than the Sept. 20 due date.

Council members and city officials also promised to pursue looking at meter readings to see why some people saw huge increases in consumption. One woman told the council her consumption went up greatly, even though her family was away from home for three weeks during the billing period, for example.

A member city’s water committee suggested that the metering software may have been faulty, recording consumption in gallons instead of cubic feet. One cubic foot of water equals about 7.5 gallons, so that kind of mistake would made usage look 7.5 times higher than it actually was.

Residents filled the Lafayette fire hall for the council meeting, which was moved from city hall because of the large turnout.

It was the second time in a week people crowded into the fire hall to discuss the unexpectedly high water bills.

Last week, citizen after citizen rose at a town hall to detail bills that were 50%, 100% or several hundred percent higher than in previous summer months, based on both new rates and on meter readings.

This week, another 15 residents spoke to the council, raising issues that ranged from whether meters were accurate and whether they should pay the bills they had received.

For more information about water bills in Lafayette, call city hall, at 503-864-2451.

For more about the Lafayette water issue, please see the Tuesday edition of the News-Register.


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