PINOLE -- Sewer rates for single-family houses will climb an average of about 3.5 percent a year for the next five years, starting this month.
The rate for apartments and condos also will increase but by a much higher rate, more than 14 percent, this year, with smaller annual increases, averaging about 3.7 percent, in each of the following four years.
Rates for businesses also will increase each July for five years, with higher increases this year compared with the four years after. The commercial rates vary according to the type of business.
The single-family house rate of $52.77 a month will climb to $54.10 this month; to $56.74 a month next July; and to $58.62, $60.55 and $62.55 a month in July of 2015, 2016 and 2017, respectively.
The multifamily unit rate will climb from $39.58 a month to $45.20 this month, and to $47.41, $48.97, $50.59 and $52.26 a month, respectively, the next four years.
The rate increases apply to properties that are serviced by the Pinole/Hercules wastewater treatment plant, which covers most of the city. Other Pinole properties, mostly along Fitzgerald Drive and immediately east, which are serviced by the West County Wastewater District, are not affected.
Hercules sewer service rates are comparable with Pinole's and are going up this month and each July for another three years; as of this month, Hercules single-family houses pay $52.15 a month.
Sewer service charges cover administration, operation and maintenance of the wastewater collection system and the treatment plant as well as debt service, infrastructure upgrades and other expenses.
The treatment plant, jointly owned by the two cities, faces a $41.4 million upgrade over the next four years mandated by the Regional Water Quality Control Board. The upgrade will include enhancing capacity that is inadequate during wet weather, among other improvements.
By state law, the proposed increases could be imposed unless owners of a majority of the affected properties protest. The city sent out more than 5,000 notices to property owners but received only four protests, according to City Clerk Patricia Athenour.
The City Council unanimously ratified the increases following a public hearing Tuesday.