council-beaver

A statue of a beaver sits on the floor of the City Council chambers Monday night. Corvallis Police Chief Jon Sassaman, rear, and Sgt. Joel Goodwin, showed off the prize the department received from Oregon State University students for the effectiveness of their "welcome week" outreach efforts. Goodwin reportedly will retain custody of the statue.

Corvallis residents will play slightly more for utilities and trash pickup come early next year.

The Corvallis City Council approved a 1.9 percent increase in utility rates for water, wastewater and stormwater on Monday night. The increase, which takes effect Feb. 1, will up the monthly rate of the average customer $1.39, from $68.09 to $69.48.

Councilors voted 7-1 in favor of the increase. Ward 8’s Mark Page cast the no vote because he did not have time to review the staff report (it was missing from his council packet).

During the debate on the increase Ward 9 Councilor Hal Brauner noted that Corvallis residents pay “not just lower, but significantly lower rates” than comparable communities.

According to data provided by the city’s Public Works department, only Medford among Oregon cities of comparable size as Corvallis has lower rates, while only Brownsville among mid-valley towns pays less. Residents of Philomath, Albany, Lebanon, Adair Village, Tigard, Lake Oswego, Aloha and Keizer  all pay $100 or more per month.

Public Works officials noted that the increases will allow the department to continue to build reserves for future infrastructure work.

Republic Services, meanwhile, is raising rates for trash pickup by 4 percent for residential and industrial customers and 3.87 percent for commercial. The rates, which go into effect Jan. 1, are implemented automatically if they are at 4 percent or less. Anything higher than that requires council approval.

The average customer with a 35-gallon garbage cart will pay an additional $1.19 per month. The increase last year was just 39 cents per month.

In other action:

• Councilors extended the contract of the city attorney’s office for an additional year and increased the office’s monthly retainer by $1,200 to $24,960 per month to account for the additional workload of Municipal Court cases. The five-year contract was scheduled to expire in March. The council is tentatively scheduled to discuss models for city attorney services at a work session in the first quarter of 2018.

• Councilors set fees for ride-share and taxi companies. The initial application fee is $100 for both a taxi operator and a transportation network. The renewal fee is $50 for a taxi and $100 for ride-share firms. The city plans to review the fee structure in a year after it collects more data on the number of drivers who will be involved.

Contact reporter James Day at jim.day@gazettetimes.com or 541-758-9542. Follow at Twitter.com/jameshday or gazettetimes.com/blogs/jim-day.

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