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Littleton votes to increase sewer rates outside city

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By Vicky Gits

The Littleton City Council voted by a narrow margin to raise fees 20 percent, or $30 a year, for sewer treatment plant users outside the city and zero percent for ones inside the city limits.

The decision will affect homeowners in areas of unincorporated South Jeffco despite the fact that they have no representation on the Littleton council.

The council also voted to raise tap fees for builders inside the city from $2,500 to $5,000 and outside the city from $2,828 to $5,656, except for projects that have site plans approved by Oct. 15.

Council members agreed that developers that have projects in the pipeline should not be obligated to pay the higher rates since they based their financing plans on the earlier pricing structure.

The 4-3 vote was a slim victory for Littleton Mayor Doug Clark, who was the chief proponent of the tap-fee increase, which he defended on grounds that existing sewer users shouldn’t subsidize new construction.

“The goal is to equalize the cost between new and existing users. We need to raise tap fees so existing users don’t pay for new construction,” Clark said. He said the council plan would create a smaller deficit than the staff plan.

The alternate plan to raise sewer fees by 4 percent across the board for both inside and outside users, with no change in tap fees, was defeated in a 4-3 vote.

Clark said the 20 percent increase outside the city was justified because there were more people per dwelling unit outside the city than inside the city.

“We have to increase revenue, or we will go broke,” Clark said. “Existing city users are bearing an unfair share.”