Sewer fees to double at Cascade Shores
Cascade Shores residents won’t protest a nearly 100 percent increase in their sewer rates planned for Tuesday by the county supervisors.
The 83 homes hooked up to the Cascade Shores Wastewater Treatment Plant will see sewer bills jump from $910 a year to $1,795. The move is necessitated by new state and federal clean water standards that have to be met by 2006, even though the Cascade Shores plant was built in 1996.
The increase will finance operations, provide money for debt payments and bring in $50,000 annually to study how new permit requirements can be met.
Plant upgrades are estimated at $2.3 million, said Nevada County Supervisor Sue Horne, who has been leading the effort to secure federal funding for wastewater plant upgrades needed throughout the county. Supervisors act as the board of directors for each of the county’s sewer districts.
Last August, the residents of Cascade Shores shot down a slightly larger fee increase using Proposition 218, which forces local governments to get majority approval in special districts before imposing taxes, fees and charges. Cascade Shores resident Lori Sheftal said this time around homeowners won’t protest the increase.
“We want to move forward proactively,” Sheftal said. “Personally, I feel we need to go after legislative measures.”
And that is what Horne is pursuing. Nevada County will likely see $9 million to $10 million over several years from a larger water resources bill sponsored by U.S. Rep. John Doolittle. Under the bill, $25 million would be split between Nevada, Sierra, Plumas, Lassen and Butte counties based on population for various water projects, including wastewater.
Nevada County’s share will go toward solving the Cascade Shores’ problem and similar problems facing the wastewater treatment plants at Lake of the Pines and Lake Wildwood, Horne said. The federal funds will cover 75 percent of the cost of a project, with the county matching the balance.
Horne said the county will submit its list of priority projects to Doolittle in about a month.
“As far as the county is concerned, the most pressing concern is Cascade Shores,” she said. “If approved, we’d have monies this time next year.”
The increased sewer fees for Cascade Shore residents are needed to cover operations until then, Horne said. Sheftal, meanwhile, said it is difficult for many of her neighbors to pay $150-a-month sewer bills.
“The serious problem is for those who are elderly and on fixed incomes,” she said.
The federal money identified for the county is essentially the first of its kind for wastewater treatment, but it will require patience, Horne said.
“We’re certainly trying to do everything we can to bring some relief,” she said. “We’re talking about a congressional process that takes time.”
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