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City looks at spike in meter hookups

The cost for new developments to hook up to city water and sewer services could take a giant leap this spring.

Under the proposed rates, the Systems Development Charge (SDC) to install a standard residential meter would rise from the current $700 to $1,408, a 101 percent increase. The new fee for the water meter would spike 474 percent, from $450 to $2,584.

The SDC has not been raised in more than 10 years and on Monday the Hood River City Council decided to seek the middle ground in fees levied statewide. The SDC is imposed on new construction to recoup the cost of laying new water and sewer lines. State officials have endorsed the fees as a “fairness” issue so that those who profit from new development pay these costs instead of taxpayers and ratepayers.

The proposed SDC hike will be advertised to draw citizen comment for 90 days and a public hearing is scheduled for March. If the new fees are adopted, the cost for building a home in Hood River will rise again. In early 2001, the city more than doubled the price of a building permit with the first increase since 1979.

By signing on to the rate schedule of the International Conference of Building Officials, the municipality raised the permit cost for a single family dwelling valued at $120,000 from $830.76 to $1,901.89, a jump of $1,071.13.

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