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Cascade Locks utility questions on ballot

Cascade Locks residents will decide the fates of two measures affecting local utility rates and procedures.

The first of the proposed measures (No: 14-49) would repeal a previously established water utility fee and establish a new electric utility fee — to fund emergency services.

According to the Hood River County ballot text this measure, if passed, would enact ordinance No. 416 in place of ordinance No. 374. Ordinance No. 374 imposes a fee on all City of Cascade Locks water service utility accounts to fund costs associated with fire prevention, EMS and fire suppression.

This new ordinance would remove the fee associated with water service accounts and place that fee on electric service accounts. Once enacted, the city council would be charged with setting and adjusting the fee rates by resolution. The sole use for the fee is limited to payment of costs associated with fire prevention, EMS and fire suppression.

n In the second measure under consideration, (No. 14-51), the city charter would be amended clarifying city council authority to set rates for city owned utilities.

The Cascade Locks city charter is the governing document for the city of Cascade Locks.

According to ballot text, this measure would revise section 32 (4) of the current home rule city charter that requires a majority vote of the city’s qualified electors voting in an election where at least 50 percent of the registered voters cast a ballot, or in a general election in an even numbered year for the city council to create or increase any tax, charge or fee.

The proposed revision would add the following language to the charter: “This provision shall not apply to utility rate setting for any city-owned utility. As used in this section, city-owned utility includes water, sewer, electric, cable and broadband/internet service.”

The proposed amendment would clarify that utility rate setting actions of council are administrative in nature and not properly subject to a vote of the city’s qualified electors.

According to Kim Kean, elections supervisor for Hood River County, Oct. 16 is the last day to register to vote. Forms are available at the county offices during regular business hours, or at the post office or library. Residents may also go online to complete their form at Oregonvotes.org.

Ballots will be mailed out Oct. 19 and need to be returned by 8 p.m. Nov. 6.

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