The city of Cannon Beach is looking at different ways to structure its utility rates.
In February, the public works committee put together an analysis of the current rate structure, as stated in the Cannon Beach Utility Rate Structure Analysis report.
The city is embarking on this review in part to “better align revenue with usage,” the report states. However, the analysis does not look at how to fund capital improvements in its water and wastewater systems.
City Manager Bruce St. Denis said in an email last Monday that the city is “preparing materials for the September 3rd meeting where we will continue to talk about changing from funding capital projects from ‘pay as you go’ (practice up to now) to loan funding with debt service funded from rates.
“Council also had a report a while back from the PW Committee that gave four alternatives about how to structure utility rates. We will be talking about a 5th on September 3rd and will ask them how they (council) want to proceed with making a final decision.”
In the report, the committee identified several areas of inequity in billing as follows:
1. “Disparity in Multi-Unit Residential customer billing in comparison to Multi-Business Commercial customer billing, as stated in the report.
2. “Total usage by customer class, i.e. residential or commercial, does not align well with total revenue generated by customer class and impacts of tourism ( are) not adequately addressed in current structure, and
3. “City and fire department accounts are not billed.”
The committee proposes the following to address the inequities in multi-unit residential versus multi-business billing structuring, the report states:
1. “Multi-unit residential be billed as a single residence
2. “Multi-businesses would be billed based on meter size…”
According to the report, commercial and residential use is even but residential provides 60 percent of the revenue, the report states.
The committee recommends as one possible scenario to achieve equity that the city “align revenue with usage options to remove inequity,” the report states.
The committee also looked at introducing a water conservation component to the billing structure, according to the report. One way to do this would be to “charge higher usage rate for usage greater than a specified multiple of usage allowance.”
The city hired a consultant FCS Group to analyze the various proposed structures, the report states.
For more information on the bill structuring options under consideration, visit the city website, keywords “Rate Structure Analysis Presentation, February Council.”
City Public Works Director Karen La Bonte declined to be interviewed.