Monday, March 28, 2005

The Fairfield-Suisun Sewer District Board will vote Monday on raising rates

Article Last Updated: Friday, Mar 25, 2005 - 10:35:13 pm PST

Sewer District Board considers raising rates

By Ian Thompson

FAIRFIELD - The Fairfield-Suisun Sewer District Board will vote Monday on raising monthly residential sewer bills by $1.03.The district needs the increase so it can maintain and replace parts at the district plant during the coming decades. If the board approves, the raise will go into effect July 1.Bills for business and industry will go up more than residential bills while bills for those on Travis Air Force Base won't go up as much.Even with the raise, the residential sewer rates are still below other cities in Solano County. Vacaville charges $7.30 more a month and Vallejo charges more than $11 more.Board members could also vote to give their employees salary raises as early as Monday night, based on a report that studied other sewer district salaries.

At least two board members want the vote held off a month so the public has time to comment on any recommendations that come out of a closed session on the issue Monday.The district is using the pay study as a baseline to help determine how far employee salaries should rise. Board members got the study Monday although officials refused to release it to the public. District executive director Rich Luthy said the study wasn't a public document because it was part of salary negotiations with the district's 24 employees, although by law the salaries of public employees are public information.The 69-page study compares more than a dozen other sewer districts, some of them districts which are larger than Fairfield-Suisun Sewer District.

Board members could take action on raising salaries as soon as they come out of the closed session.The sewer district, which is governed by both the Fairfield and Suisun city councils, has raised some of its salaries each year to keep up with inflation and to keep in line with other sewer districts for years.This is the first study in years that has examined the classification and salary of every employee.

Fairfield Councilman Jack Batson called the study a major step and felt it would be unwise to take action before understanding the report's full implications.Fairfield Councilwoman Marilyn Farley also wanted any action held over for a month "to make sure that the salaries are the right ones for our market" and "daylight" any proposals to allow the public a chance to examine them.Their concerns had nothing to do with how the sewer district is being run, with Batson and Farley saying Luthy and his employees do an excellent job.

Reach Ian Thompson at 427-6976 or

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