Hillsboro proposes water rate increases for 2019
Hillsboro city officials are asking the public for input on a series of water rate increases set to go into effect next year.
The city's Utilities Commission is considering raising water rates for homes and businesses across the city. The Commission plans to host a public hearing on the matter Nov. 13, in Room 113 at the Hillsboro Civic Center, 150 E. Main St.
If approved, the water rate increase is expected to go into effect Feb. 1, 2019.
The proposed increases would raise the rate for single-family homes by 5 percent, or $1.61 increase for most families, raising the average rate from $32.74 to $34.35.
Apartment buildings would see a 19.1 percent rise, as would commercial businesses and public entities. Industrial businesses would see an 8.5 percent rise. Farmers and others who use city water for irrigation purposes would see water rates rise 20 percent.
The proposed rate increases also impact residents of Cornelius, Gaston and the Laurelwood area in Washington County. Those communities purchase their water wholesale from the city, according to Lindsay Wochnick, a spokeswoman for the Hillsboro Water Department.
The rate increase must be approved by the city's three-member Utilities Commission, which is expected to make a final decision on water rates in December.
The raise will be the second time in three years that the city has raised water rates. The city raised drinking water rates last year by 11 percent.
Wochnick said the rate increases are helping to pay for a massive new water system currently under construction between Hillsboro and Salem. The Willamette Water Supply Program is a joint project between the city and Tualatin Valley Water District to provide water to the area as more and more residents move to town. Construction is expected to finish in 2026.
"That is the main factor contributing to adjustments now and in the immediate future," Wochnick said.
Hillsboro, TVWD, Forest Grove and Beaverton have partnered for years to draw water from the Tualatin River, but city officials have said for years that's not enough as Washington County continues to grow.
For specific water rate adjustment information for each customer class, visit HillsboroOregon.gov/WaterRates.