HERMISTON — The Hermiston City Council will discuss a utility rate increase during their Monday, Feb. 22, meeting.

A resolution adopted by the city council in 2018 dictated that water and sewer rates would go up according to inflation each year, starting in March 2020, in an attempt to create more gradual increases over time.

According to the agenda packet for the meeting, the increase will be based on the Engineering News-Record Construction Cost Index as of December of the preceding calendar year. That index rose by 2.15% from December 2019 to December 2020, meaning water and sewer rates in Hermiston are set to rise by that much, adding an average of $2.13 per month to the median customer's combined water and sewer bill.

The council will also discuss updates to the city's five-year capital improvement plan, which is set to be updated every two years. According to the agenda packet, the city completed $2.7 million in capital improvement projects since 2019, mostly related to replacing aging water and sewer infrastructure that in some cases was 100 years old. The updated capital improvement plan calls for $20.2 million on water, sewer and street projects through 2026.

The council will also be asked to vote on a proposal for a public-private partnership to create sponsored, decorative banners downtown. The council heard the proposal during its Feb. 8 meeting but asked staff to come back with answers to their questions.

The council plans to move to a closed-door executive session sometime after 7:30 p.m. to discuss real estate negotiations. 

The council meeting will be broadcast live on the city's YouTube channel. Prior to the 7 p.m. council meeting, which will take place at the Hermiston Community Center, the council will meet at 6 p.m. at the Hermiston Public Library, where it will take a tour of the newly renovated basement of the library, which will serve as a temporary city hall while the city's planned new city hall is under construction.

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