Almanac

News - March 27, 2013

Woodside sewer rates may rise 100 percent

by Dave Boyce

In January 2011, the Woodside Town Council passed an ordinance to more closely align service fees, charged to property owners, to the costs for those services. These services included building permits, plan checks, and site analysis.

Now the focus is sewer rates, most of which have not been looked at in 18 years, a staff report says.

A proposal before the council on Tuesday, March 26, would increase sewer rates by about 100 percent for all residences with sewer service — 157 residences and 24 non-residential properties — starting in the 2013-14 fiscal year. The meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. in Independence Hall at 2955 Woodside Road.

The vast majority of Woodside's 2,200 residences use septic tanks. The Town Center Sewer Assessment District runs along the downtown area of Woodside Road and includes Martin, Audiffred and Cedar lanes, Prospect Avenue and Canada Road north to Bardet Road.

After this initial jump, residential rates would continue rising over the next three years, but at much smaller increments — at 8 percent, 16 percent and 7 percent. Non-residential rates, while calculated differently, would track residential rates, Deputy Town Manager Paul Nagengast said in an email.

The current annual rate of $359 for a Canada Road household within the sewer district would rise to $747; for all other affected households, the current rate of $426 would rise to $830. By 2017-18, these rates would be $1,353 and $1,450, respectively.

The current rates, according to the report, "do not pay for the existing cost of service to maintain the existing sewer system and for the conveyance costs" to transport and treat the sewage. Nor are rates at a level sufficient for a proposed upgrade to the 30-year-old treatment plant in Redwood City, the report says. The town's sewer district needs about $650,000 in capital improvements, according to an engineering study.

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