Hillsboro approves 9% water rate increase starting in 2022
Hillsboro residents will see their monthly water rates increase by nearly 9% starting in 2022.
The Hillsboro Utilities Commission adopted the proposed rate increases for different classifications of water customers at its meeting Tuesday, Oct. 12.
Beginning Jan. 1, water rates for the average single-family residential customer will increase 8.8%.
More than 80% of Hillsboro's single-family residential customers use about 6,000 gallons of water per month and currently pay $39.08 per month on average.
Those customers with that level of water usage would see their bills increase by $3.42, according to the Hillsboro Water Department.
The average customer living in a multi-family residential building will see an increase of 10.3%.
Other water customers, including commercial entities, industrial entities, nonprofits, and those using water for irrigation would see their average rates increase by 10.6%, 10.4%, 10.5% and 14.9%, respectively.
Every year, the Hillsboro Utilities Commission establishes and approves new water rates after meeting to discuss adjustments and receiving public comments.
The city accepted submitted comments on this year's proposed rate changes September and held a community conversation with the utility commission about the proposed rates on Sept. 14.
No community members provided comments during a public hearing for the proposed rates on Oct. 4, according to minutes from the meeting.
Pamplin Media Group has reached out to the city's water department for details about submitted public comments.
The proposed rate increases by the Hillsboro Water Department for 2022 are similar to those of last year.
Officials said the actual percentage increase on a customer's bill may vary based on meter size and individual usage patterns.
The increases are necessary to continue providing safe water to more than 88,000 affected customers, maintain and replace the city's aging water infrastructure, improve the current system's seismic reliability, and construct a water pipeline from the Willamette River in Wilsonville, officials said.
"Hillsboro Water is committed to delivering safe, reliable, and high-quality water on demand to customers," said Niki Iverson, director of the Hillsboro Water Department. "To keep rates lower, we look for efficiencies to improve operations, implement cost-savings measures, and apply for grants and other federal infrastructure funds."
Officials encourage residents who are having trouble paying their utility bill to explore whether they're eligible for a flexible pay plan or bill relief option. Details for such programs are available at hillsboro-oregon.gov/utilityassistance or by phone at 503-681-6163.
Hillsboro's new drinking water rates remain among the lowest in the Portland metro region, officials said. For a typical residential family, the $42.50 rate will still be about 21% less than the regional average.Â Â
Hillsboro's water supply system is funded solely by water rates and system development charges, which the city collects when new properties are developed. Tax revenue placed in the city's general fund doesn't contribute to the water system.
According to data from the city last year, single-family residential customers account for 90% of all city accounts and use 23.4% of the city's total water. They currently contribute 31.8% of the city's customer revenue for the water system.
Industrial customers used nearly half of the city's total water usage and contributed 39.7% of the city's customer revenue for the water system, according to last year's data.
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