EUGENE, Ore. (KMTR) -EWEB wants to raise rates for customers and provide employees with pay raises, but the utility says the increases are not related.
The proposed budget will be discussed Tuesday night at a second public hearing at EWEB headquarters. Next year's budget has been a hot topic of discussion for some time because it includes a customer rate increase. The proposed overall $303.7 million dollar budget includes a four percent wage increase for union employees. Non-union workers would get a two percent cost of living increase, and possibly a two-percent merit raise.
EWEB spokesperson Joe Harwood says a $2.4 million dollar budget is set aside specifically for wage increases and pay raises are unrelated to rate hikes. ”The rate increase if it's passed this spring would raise an excess of six million dollars and the wage increases amount to 2.4 million or less,” says Harwood.
The budget would increase rates by 5.5 percent for electricity and four percent for water. According to Harwood, the increase would help make up for the higher cost of power and the decreased power supply from their supplier Bonneville. He says without the proposed rate increases, EWEB would have to cut costs by laying off 20 percent of its work force, or roughly 120 employees.
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