A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Albany council zeroes in on $9 service fee

Written May 10th, 2021 by Hasso Hering

The council talked with Jeff Blaine, bottom left, about planning issues before discussing the planned city-services fee.

As expected, the Albany City Council is getting ready to set the base rate of the proposed city-services fee or tax at $9 per month for single-family households.

The council discussed this during its Monday work session. On Wednesday night, it will vote on actually approving the rate. This will set the stage for enacting the fee, perhaps at the regular council session on May 26.

At $9 for single-family households and proportional rates for other water and sewer customers, the fee would raise $2.8 million a year, roughly the amount the city needs to avoid staff cuts and service reductions in the police, fire and other departments in the two-year budget period 2021-23.

Councilwoman Bessie Johnson was ready to have the council take final action on the rate and on imposing the fee on Monday. But a resolution setting the rate and an ordinance imposing it had yet to be prepared.

The $9 rate would affect Albany’s roughly 16,800 single-family households. Apartment houses would be charged $7.20 a month per unit. For about 200 commercial customers with 1½-inch water meters, the charge would be $22.50. For another 200 with two-inch meters, it will be $72.

There are about 80 commercial customers with three-inch or larger water meters. For them, the monthly service charge will range from $144 to $750. There’s one 10-inch meter on the city water system, and that customer will be charged $1,890 a month.  (The memo outlining the fee did not identify any customers, including the biggest.)

The first bills with the new charge apparently will go out in July, the first month of the new fiscal biennium.

The council talked about setting up a discount for low-income households, of which there are said to be about 2,500 in Albany. But that program would not be ready until about December, the council learned.

Councilman Ray Kopczynski proposed the $9 monthly rate in a motion. There was no vote — that will come Wednesday — only a show of thumbs. I didn’t see the raised thumbs because my Zoom screen was set on the speaker at the time instead of everyone. But apparently there was a near-consensus to go ahead with that amount. (hh)

Posted in: Commentary, News

11 responses to “Albany council zeroes in on $9 service fee”

  1. Robert kahn says:

    I am officially looking to move OUT of Albany. We are on fixed SSI income and just can’t live with all the tax increases. 3% increase every year in property is TOO MUCH. I’m almost ready to leave the country?

  2. Withheld says:

    It really is incredible…and I mean that in the worst sense of the meaning.
    “let’s see….think we can get away with 9 dollars? (sounds better than10 eh!)”
    The phrase “Dialing for dollars comes to mind”
    I’ll take “Dialing for dollars for $2.8M Alex” (Trebek that is) We are in Jeopardy aren’t we?
    Everyone has their hand in the taxpayers pocket. What’s $9.00 anyway? Might be the price of a latte’ nowadays? As in “It’s only ’bout the price of a latte'” who couldn’t afford that?
    The problem is that the list of parties with their hands in our pockets comes to many many…far too many lattes…
    The gov creates myriad problems and the solution is always found in our wallets for about the price of yet another latte’.
    Slogan “Your Gov, destroying your pocketbook…one latte’ at a time”

  3. Rich Kellum says:

    The only question is: seeing as how this is not going to be spent on just utilities, it is a tax, when does the electorate get to vote on it. because as of now it is a tax….

    • Gordon L. Shadle says:

      In 10 years the city will need to impose a monthly tax…..er….charge a monthly fee of about $150 per household to make up for the $88M budget shortfall.

      Just add it to every garbage bill. The tax…er….fee is not for garbage service, but no one will launch a legal challenge so that is non-issue.

      This is about the power to impose and the convenience of having an existing billing/collection system.

      Albany is on a slippery slope.

  4. Nora Sonne says:

    time to really think about our elected people. I know I will really look at the people running now 9.00 on top of 2.99 the garbage company is going to charge. too bad our fixed income don’t go up

  5. Mike says:

    Seen this happen before in California. That’s why I moved up here and bought a home. What will happen is that it won’t be enough and they will find another way of increases. For this little of a town it sounds like the city doesn’t know how to spend. Property taxes are ridiculous up here. There is really nothing in this town to be honest. Cute but getting expensive and crime and drug infested. Like a lot of people I’ve talked to, thinking of pulling up stakes and moving on.

  6. Debbie Ferguson says:

    Just keep adding more and more!!! Ridiculous

  7. Zayne Underwood says:

    What a mess!

  8. Jason says:

    What happened to all the settlement money from Pepsi? Oh that’s right, they kept it and spent it on….wait for it….getting rid of parking downtown and expanding sidewalks. Ridiculous!

  9. Mike quinn says:

    you make a comment like the one that Jason say why don’t you make a list on how Pepsi money was spent your viewership would have a cow. I have the list. The actual list Would like to see if you really know


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