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Centerville • The City Council voted 4-1 this week to raise water rates each year for the next three years — 8 percent starting June 26, an additional 4 percent on June 26, 2012, and another 4 percent on June 26, 2013.

Councilman Lawrence Wright was the lone no vote, hoping to postpone the issue for further deliberation. The city's water rates have remained static since December 2007.

"Now we have three-and-a-half years of operational cost increases," said City Manager Steve Thacker.

However, the primary driver behind the rate boost, Thacker added, is the need for capital improvements to the water system, including replacing old pipes and installing a new well and pump station on Chase Lane.

"We either need to pay for them as we go or we need to bond," Thacker said.

The recommended increase stems from a recent analysis conducted by Salt Lake City-based consulting firm Lewis Young Robertson and Burningham.

The typical household with a ¾-inch meter will initially see a slight increase in its monthly base rate from $13.90 to $15.01, then to $15.61 the following year and $16.24 in mid-2013.

However, some homes are outfitted with 1-inch meters, with a base rate that is 21/2 times higher.

Those homeowners will see a jump in their monthly base rate from $34.75 to $37.53 this month, to $39.03 next June and $40.59 in June 2013.

Thacker said that actual water usage for homes with ¾-inch meters and 1-inch meters does not vary much, but the base rate is determined by capacity.

Public Works Director Randy Randall suggested that homeowners with 1-inch meters consider downsizing their equipment to lower their water bills, unless they have fire-protection systems that require the larger meter.

However, if a substantial number of households choose to downsize, that could affect the flow of water revenues back to the city and the pool of money available for system upgrades.

The Council will discuss meter downsizing further at a future meeting.

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