Dinner for two at a B-grade restaurant — that's the about cost the average household rate for sewer service will jump next year in Novato.
By a 4-1 vote, the Novato Sanitary District board approved rate increases for the next four years at its Monday meeting, making up the difference after skipping an increase the past two years.
The average household in Novato pays about $464 per year, and that will jump $31 (6.68 percent) to $495 for the 2012-13. The three increases after that are smaller: 3.84 percent followed by 3.69 percent followed by 3.56 percent, factoring out to $19 per year.
No members of the public spoke out against the proposed increases at the Monday meeting, but about 25 people wrote letters to the district to protest, said board President Bill Long.
"That's out of 20,000 customers," he noted. "Even with the increase, our rates are lower than any other district in the county. That would be the first thing I point out."
Jean Mariani, who favored dipping into the district's significant reserves to lessen the blow on the first year's increase, was the dissenting vote.
Manager/Engineer Beverly James said operating costs are increasing 3.3 percent and capital expenses are going up 11.7. Of the $495 bill for a typical household bill in 2012-13, $285 will go toward operating costs and $210 for capital expenses, she said.
Also at the meeting, Mike Di Giorgio was voted board president for the next fiscal year and Mariani will be president pro-tem. The transition takes place at the July 9 meeting. Long, who first served on the Novato Sanitary District board in the 1970s, is finishing his sixth term as board president.